Uttarakhand: 50 gharial hatchlings spotted near Corbett in Haldwani

Published on Jun 29, 2022 04:20 PM IST
This was the first time that such a large number of gharial hatchlings were seen together on the banks of Ramganga river passing through Corbett national park
Gharials live in deep fast-moving rivers, feed on fish and require sandy banks for nesting. (HT file picture)
Gharials live in deep fast-moving rivers, feed on fish and require sandy banks for nesting. (HT file picture)
ByAnkur Sharma

In a rare sighting, fifty gharial hatchlings were spotted on the banks of Ramganga river passing through Corbett national park on Monday.

This was the first time that such a large number of gharial hatchlings were seen together, park officials said.

Also read:700 and counting: Gharial numbers get a boost in Katarniyaghat sanctuary

Neeraj Sharma, deputy director of CTR said, “Usually the female gharial lays eggs in the sand on the banks of the river. Mostly, the eggs get carried away with the water. This time when the gharial laid the eggs, we engaged the staff to monitor them. Although the female alligator lays eggs all the time, this is the first time it has been spotted.”

Dr Shah Bilal, wildlife specialist of Corbett tiger reserve said the patrolling staff spotted gharial hatchlings on the banks of Ramganga river in Sarpaduli beat of Dhikala zone. It is the first time that gharial hatchlings have been spotted in such a large number in the park.

“We have increased surveillance and patrolling at the respective places to ensure their preservation as these hatchlings can be made fodder by other wildlife species,” he said.

He said that the breeding season of gharials begins in February. The female gharial lays eggs in April. It lays up to 100 eggs at a time and chances are that gharials may have laid eggs here.

The Corbett tiger reserve conducts an aquatic animal census every year.

In last year’s census, 152 crocodiles, 116 otters and 98 gharials were recorded.

In Uttarakhand, crocodiles are found in the Corbett landscape, Terai area, Bhanganga wetland in Haridwar, Rajaji national park, and so on.

While gharials live in deep fast-moving rivers, feed on fish and require sandy banks for nesting and basking in the sun.

Ghariya’s limited population now exists within four tributaries Ganga, Chambal, Girwaand-Son, in India, and Rapti-Narayani river in Nepal.

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