MP: 2,000 hatchlings die in Chambal sanctuary

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Morena (MP), Sep 27: About 2,000 'gharial' hatchlings die in the National Chambal (Gharial) Wildlife Sanctuary every year, official sources said. The fact was revealed when deaths of 144 alligators (gharial) hatchlings were reported at Dewri centre recently.

''Out of 2,500-3,000 eggs laid by the alligators every year, 300-500 eggs are collected and brought to Dewri in May every year. Of them, only 50 per cent hatchlings survive, while others perish in absence of care or viral infection,'' official sources said.

Search for the eggs in the Chambal sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh starts in March. They were brought to Dewri centre in May. Hatchlings come out in June. Their deaths usually occur between September and October end.

Only two-four per cent of eggs left beside the Chambal river survive, while other hatchlings were washed away by the strong currents of the Chambal or consumed by some water creature.

Divisional Forest Officer R P Sharma described the deaths as natural, pointing out that if all hatchlings survive their number would increase drastically.

Aquatic life expert Rishikesh Sharma said alligator hatchlings remain in groups and live on the backs of one another causing spread of infection and thus leading to their death.

Of the total 500 alligators brought to the Dewri centre, 144 of them have died so far, while 412 were still surviving.

UNI

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