Scientists hopeful of spotting gharials in WB stretch of Ganga | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Scientists hopeful of spotting gharials in WB stretch of Ganga

The WII is conducting studies on aquatic life under the National Mission for Clean Ganga

dehradun Updated: Jan 29, 2018 22:39 IST
Nihi Sharma
Dehradun-based WII has reported rare Siebold’s smooth-scaled water snake in the Ganga between the Bijnor and Kanpur stretch.
Dehradun-based WII has reported rare Siebold’s smooth-scaled water snake in the Ganga between the Bijnor and Kanpur stretch.(HT Photo)

Scientists are hopeful to spot gharials in the Ganga in West Bengal during this monsoon season.

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is conducting studies on aquatic life in the river under the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).

“We are looking forward to its (gharial’s) sighting in Bengal where only one gharial was spotted years ago,” project associate Niladri Dasgupta said during a workshop held here on Monday.

Scientists, experts and stakeholders -- representatives from non-government organisations – participated in the workshop on ‘Biodiversity conservation and Ganga rejuvenation’. The workshop aimed at bringing stakeholders together and sharing the progress of surveys.

“Gharials are peculiar in nature as they are highly narrow in their choices,” Dasgupta said. The species feeds only on fishes unlike its other family members -- mugger and saltwater crocodiles -- and is found in freshwaters.

The species was reported in Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh. Scientists now look to finding new territories of gharials along the Ganga river stretch.

Experts talked about aquatic life flourishing in the river that stretches across 570 km. Some of the key findings in the initial stages of the studies included presence of Siebold’s smooth-scaled water snake in Uttar Pradesh and 50 Gangetic dolphins in many spots.

In an indication of a healthy aquatic ecosystem, WII reported presence of 13 species of turtles in the river. The key species spotted during the survey were three-striped roofed, black pond, crowned river, Indian flapshell, Indian softshell, Indian roofed, Indian tent and brown roofed turtles.

Scientist Ruchi Badola talked about a cadre of volunteers from five states in which the Ganga flows. “These young volunteers have been named as Ganga Praharis,” Badola said. She appealed to organisations to involve the volunteers in activities related to the clean-Ganga mission.

Participants in the workshop agreed to take up one stretch of the Ganga and make it a model through united efforts by departments and agencies involved.