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Indian alligators found dead in Chambal River
Etawah | December 13, 2007 4:22:51 PM IST
 
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In a shocking incident, several Indian alligators (Gharials) have been found dead in the Chambal River in Etawah's Chakar Nagar sub-division of Uttar Pradesh.

The main habitat for crocodiles and alligators in India are the Rivers Chambal, Girwa, Rapti and Narayani in the orbit of central and northern India.

The deaths of the alligators has invited scrutiny after the Society for the Conservation of Nature, an NGO (non-government organisaiton), intimated the forest department after spotting two dead alligators near the river.

After visiting the spot, forest officials approached the National Chambal Sanctuary authorities to probe the matter further. The cause for alligator deaths is yet to be ascertained.

"The forest department has conducted a post-mortem on two to three Gharials. The Gharials were recently brought from Lucknow's Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre, and they might have become victims of some contagious disease or the target of some hunters," claimed Rajeev Chauhan, the Secretary of the Society for the Conservation of Nature.

A few carcasses were found on the banks of the river, while the others were found floating in the river.

"A motor boat is roaming from last one week and getting the dead Gharials out of the river. They catch them, tie their legs and head and then bury them in the mud. A few dead bodies are thrown in deep water as well," said Chander Singh, a villager.

Forest department officials in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh also launched a search in the river and found four alligator carcasses.

Last month, Agra forest department officials facilitated the release of 40 alligators into River Chambal, their natural habitat.

These alligators considered to be among the most endangered species.

Lucknow's Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre (KGRC) is famous for the captive breeding of alligators.

The Uttar Pradesh Department of Forests started the gharial rehabilitation project in 1975 at the Centre's request. Over the years, the centre has had a 90 percent breeding and survival record of Gharial.

The step was taken following a survey undertaken by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) that has categorised the Gharial as critically endangered species in the recent list, which was in the endangered category till now.

As per the survey, the Indian Gharial (Gavialis Gangeticus) is on the red list of critically endangered species this year.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the mature Gharial population in India stands at less than 200.

The estimated population of Gharial is 1,976. However, the state officials said the IUCN figure might be representing the Gharials in their natural habitat.

The officials said that the Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre has released around 3,782 Gharials in different rivers in the country. It has also gifted 288 Gharials to various countries and organisations in cities like New York, Tokyo, Islamabad and Kabul.

An alligator's lifespan is usually estimated to be in the range of 50 years or more. (ANI)

 

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