Daily wager jumps into crocodile-infested river to save ghariyal eggs

Unmindful of the risk to his life, Laxman, a daily wage employee in Katraniyaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, jumped into the deep water of the Gairuwa river to save the floating eggs of ghariyals.
Daily wager Laxman with the ghariyal eggs
Daily wager Laxman with the ghariyal eggs
Published on Oct 31, 2021 11:56 PM IST
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Bahraich: It takes extreme courage to jump into a river infested with crocodiles and ghariyals, merely to save a couple of eggs. But then, exceptions are usual in Katarniyaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, located on the Indo-Nepal border.

Unmindful of the risk to his life, Laxman, a daily wage employee in Katraniyaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, jumped into the deep water of the Gairuwa river to save the floating eggs of ghariyals. He retrieved them and placed them back at the breeding pads near the Ghariyal Centre set up at the KWS so that baby ghariyals may be hatched out.

On being asked, Laxman said that a sandbar where ghariyals laid their eggs was cut down by the flow of the Gairuwa. He said he saw two ghariyal eggs floating in the river and jumped in without even thinking.

There are only two rivers, Chambal and Gairuwa, in the world where ghariyals’ (Gavialis Gengeticus) natural breeding takes place in a concentrated manner. The reptile has been declared one of the most critically endangered species in the world. It is 20 times more endangered than the tiger in the Red Data Book published recently by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

It may be noted that the Gairuwa , which originates in Nepal, enters the sanctuary through eight channels. Owing to fresh and uncontaminated water of Gairuwa, several endangered species like Gangetic dolphins and ghariyals are growing well here.

Divisional forest officer (DFO) Akash Deep Badhawan praised Laxman for his outstanding and courageous task. He said people did not even dare to go on a boat in these waters where ghariyals were present in good number.

The DFO said last week a boy’s leg had to be amputated due to crocodile attack.

Recalling another forester’s courageous work, Badhawan said one Pawan Shukla was attacked and injured twice in leopard attack in 2006 and 2020. But even after two attacks, Pawan goes to the forest for patrolling with full dedication.

The DFO said the work of foresters was not less than that of a soldier deployed on the border. But their work was not being recognized like police men and soldiers. Inspector general of forests Ramesh Kumar Pandey also shared Laxman’s picture on his Twitter handle as an unsung hero.

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Thursday, December 09, 2021