By Brajesh Kumar Singh
Etawah (U.P), June 29 : Worried over the depleting population of Ghariyals in the River Chambal in Etawah, the Government is taking help of expert researchers of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to ascertain reasons behind the steady decrease.
The WWF team is using radio transmitters to monitor the movements of the Ghariyals for which chips are being fixed on their tails.
Geoffrey Lang, the famous animal researcher, believes that fitting such high capacity chips can give a lot of clue behind the Ghariyals' overall and seasonal movements. But he also said that the data of various aspects has to be compiled to arrive at any particular conclusion.
"We do not know that Ghariyals live in small places and basically move along the riverbanks during the monsoon or they travel back and forth on the upstream or downstream. So all of these things will help us understand more about the requirements of the Ghariyals. As it is a special animal in South Asia and Chambal population is the most important in the world. This way we can learn on scientific basis to conserve and manage the Ghariyals in this beautiful river," said Geoffrey Lang, a researcher on reptiles.
These chips will transmit waves with which the Ghariyals can be tracked within a radius of two kilometers. And, it is hoped that within the limited sphere, the fishermen who disturb and catch the Ghariyals can be trapped and implicated as per law.
Veterinarians are embedding the chips in a gradual manner and 30 Ghariyals have been so far identified in a particular area.
"This is an advanced tool of transmitter which has a range of two kilometers to detect and this is for the first time it is being used," said M. Vasu, Coordinator of the WWF India
The researchers opine that untimely deaths of these alligators are not because of pollution in the region or any natural reasons.
We could be closer than ever before in understanding the real cause of gharial deaths", said Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF-India and Chairman of Gharial Crisis Management Group at an event in New Delhi recently.
"Fundamental gaps in the knowledge of Gharial biology were highlighted in the course of investigations of gharial mortalities that occurred in Chambal. We are hopeful that telemetry test currently underway on gharials will fill in gaps in our understanding of this species," he further added.
River Chambal that flows through Etawah in Uttar Pradesh has long been known for being the home to the alligators known as the Indian Ghariyals.
Sadly, these unique slim-shaped alligators in comparison to crocodiles are feared to go extinct soon. In the last few years, their number has dwindled despite serious efforts including setting up of a breeding centre near Lucknow.
The Forest Department in Etawah is concerned over the depleting number of Ghariyals and it is taking its best remedial measures to save these alligators.
It may be recalled that more than 100 Gharials (Gavalis Gangeticus) were lost in the National Chambal Sanctuary since December 2007.