Endangered Female Indian Gharial Sighted in Kaziranga 

News Excerpt:

After almost 75 years, a female Indian Gharial has been spotted in Greater Kaziranga National Park.

More about the news:

  • Biswanath Wildlife Division and TSA Foundation conducted a 60-kilometer survey of the Brahmaputra River to assess the gharial population.
  • Along with gharials, Small-clawed Otters, and Binturong were also spotted at Greater Kaziranga for the first time in recent history. 
  • There were unofficial reports of recurrent sightings of gharials (especially females) in the last three years in the Kaziranga National Park. These recurring sightings of gharials, particularly females, over the past three years, serve as a testament to the success of conservation efforts aimed at restoring endangered species with appropriate protection measures.
  • Kaziranga has a recorded abundance of over 42 species of freshwater fishes; thus, it is one of the best habitats for gharials in the long run.


Gharials (Gavialis gangeticus):

  • Gharials, sometimes called gavials, are a type of crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts. 
    • Crocodilians are a group of reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, etc.
  • They derive their name from Ghara, a Hindi word for pot because of a bulbous knob present at the end of their snout.


  • Gharials live in clear freshwater river systems, congregating at river bends where the water is deeper. 
  • They’re not well-suited for land so they generally only leave the water to bask in the sun or to nest.
  • Once found from Pakistan to Myanmar, the Gharials range has shrunk to two countries: India, along the Chambal, Girwa, and Son Rivers, and Nepal, along the Narayani River.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered
    • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I
    • CITES: Appendix I

Major Threats:

  • Dam, barrages, and water abstraction adversely affect gharial by altering the quantity and quality of water available.
  • Depletion of prey base due to increased intensity of fishing and use of gill nets is rapidly killing Gharials.
  • Harvesting of eggs and poaching for the use of its body parts as medicines.
  • The biggest threat it faces is related to human activities. Since the 1940s, the gharial's numbers have declined as much as 98%.


Kaziranga Tiger Reserve (KTR):

  • Kaziranga Tiger Reserve is located in the floodplain of the Brahmaputra River with Karbi Anglong hills in the South. 
  • The river Diffalu, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, flows through the National Park area (core/critical tiger habitat), while another tributary Moradifalu flows along its southern boundary. 
  • It was declared a National Park in 1974 and Tiger Reserve in 2007.
  • Kaziranga is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to two-thirds of the world's Rhino population.


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