Baby Gharials back in Odisha after 4 decades
New Delhi, June 22: Amid the pandemic owes, if you are looking for news to cheer you up, about 28 hatchlings of the endangered gharials have been spotted near the Mahanadi River in Odisha, after a gap of four decades.
"Odisha is the only state to have all 3 species- freshwater gharials, muggers & saltwater crocodiles," said Suvendu Behera, Asst Conservator Of Forest, Anugul.
Gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) have been identified as the most Critically Endangered crocodilian species in the world. Currently, gharials can only be found in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
The population of Gharials declined drastically since the 1930s with the rapid increase in industrialisation. In 1981, the wildlife enthusiasts had released a few gharial hatchlings, but the effort did not last long.
They have a distinct boss at the end of the snout, which resembles an earthenware pot known as a ghara, hence the name "gharial". The gharial is well adapted to catching fish because of its long, thin snout and 110 sharp, interlocking teeth.
People believe Gharials as the vehicle of the river deity Ganga. People also attribute mystical and healing powers to the gharial, and used some of its body parts as ingredients of indigenous medicine.