700 and counting: Ghariyal numbers get a boost in Katarniyaghat sanctuary
Over 700 eggs of Gharyial, an endangered species of Indian crocodiles, have been hatched along the banks of Geruwa river in Uttar Pradesh’s Katarniyaghat wildlife sanctuary, close to the Nepal border.
“With hatching season on, over 700 newborns have been hatched successfully in June and 200 more likely to be hatched soon,” said Ramesh Kumar, field director, Dudhwa National Park.
Kumar said Chambal and Gerua are two rivers where natural breeding of Ghariyals takes place in a focused way, thanks to the efforts of the sanctuary staff.
Strict monitoring has helped raised the number of nests from five in 2005 to 24 now. Around 20 nests of Ghariyals were found in Katarniyaghat, out of which 14 nests have hatched. The clutch size varies from 25–55 eggs per nest.
Divisional forest officer (DFO), Katarniya, Gyan Prakash Singh said the 700 newborns were hatched from 18 nests and six more nests are yet to see hatching.
Some young Ghariyals were also released into the Geruwa river from Lucknow two months back.
The DFO said there was only one island in the sanctuary where Ghariyals made their nest pits. Guards had been deployed there to protect the eggs from birds and other threats.
The Ghyarial has been declared as one of the most critically endangered species in the world and declared 20 times more endangered than tiger in the Red Data book published recently by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
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