At 200, gharials now on critically-endangered list

Times of India

NEW DELHI: If tiger numbers were alarming, there is worse news for another species. In its annual Red List of threatened species, published on Wednesday, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) has uplisted the gharial from “endangered” to “critically endangered” following the discovery that there are less than 200 breeding adults left in the wild. This is the lowest low for the species since the early 1970s, say conservationists.

The reason behind the depleting numbers, the IUCN report says, is excessive irreversible habitat loss in India and Nepal following the construction of dams and irrigation canals.

Like the tiger, the gharial too is a story of conservation efforts gone awry, say experts. When Project Crocodile was launched, there were an estimated 200 gharials left in the world. A programme of re-introduction to the wild brought the adult population up to around 400 in 1997. Deemed a success, Project Gharial was stopped. Thirty years and a massive crocodile conservation exercise later, the gharial numbers have plummeted to just 182 in 2006. That’s almost half the population wiped out in a decade, notes the IUCN.

“The Indian gharial faces a threat both from fishing and illegal activities like sand-mining that have destroyed its nesting areas, says Sandeep Behra, who heads the WWF’s gharial conservation programme and is a member of the Gharial Multi-Task Force set up to assess population trends.

In India, the breeding population of the gharial is found in two sites — the Chambal and a five-km stretch of the Girwa River in Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary on the Indo-Nepal border. Interestingly, it was the National Chambal Sanctuary that was the focus of intense gharial conservation efforts during the days of Project Crocodile. The credit though goes largely to dacoits who by making sure no one trespassed into their territory gave the species some protection.

It was when the bandits started to give themselves up in the 1990s that the mafia stepped in, resorting to illegal mining to feed the construction boom.

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20 Comments

Filed under asia, india, nature, reptile, wildlife

20 responses to “At 200, gharials now on critically-endangered list

  1. scaryyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! nastie!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. crocadile dundee

    ugly ass reptile, i hope these stupid fuckign thigns go extict soon

  3. Sophiie x

    Naa Theyy Aiint that scaryy x But theyy wouldnt make a change to many peoples lifes if they went extinct..

  4. i think that it would be horrible if this species becomes extinc and whoever wrote the message that hopes they will needs to get a heart and die

  5. charley

    go to hell crocidile dundee for all i care, fuck you bitch your too much of a mother
    fucker to even know what im talking about and yes im from the ages 10-11 and im also a girl i hope they do not go extinct soon because they are part of nature and they are living beings people should not even try to hunt them they are one of the things that make this world great

  6. not available

    I agree with Charley

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  8. Anonymous

    hkfiyfiy

  9. secret

    i think they are a facinating creature

  10. Rob

    I’m doing a English leaflet on this animal at the moment, very scary to think that we may never see this creature again. and go to hell crocodile dundee ur a dickkkk

  11. Anonymous

    they are so cool

  12. Anonymous

    they are amazing

  13. Anonymous

    i hope we can save this amazing animal….i think they are really facaniting

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  15. Anonymous

    you dont list WHY there becoming extinct.

  16. swig

    i agree with that charley chick.

  17. conservationist

    Donate ten bucks to the IRCF and actually help the animal. It takes less than 3 minutes. Thanks.

  18. If you are talking to me on that one, you don’t know what I do or don’t donate to.

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