|Town/Region||Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary|
|Date||29 Sep 2016|
Indian Gharial Gavialis gangeticus is a critically endangered crocodilian species which faces imminent threat from various anthropogenic activities such as fishing, sand mining and construction on rivers that they inhabit. Historically present in thousands and widely distributed along the Indian subcontinent from West Pakistan to Myanmar, gharials have been reduced to a few hundreds. The key threats are the habitat modification by construction of dams and barrages and sand mining which results in reduction of suitable habitats.
A long term study on their habitat characterization, status of the Katarniaghat gharial population and assessment of stress from anthropogenic as well as sympatric species is a must for their conservation. We will conduct seasonal surveys, use camera trapping and other photographic methods to assess the population size and get insights into their life history. Gharials in Katarniaghat are sympatric with mugger crocodile and five other turtle species, all of them categorized as threatened by IUCN. Protecting the habitat of gharial helps in conserving at least six other threatened reptilian species. Therefore there is an imminent need to educate and aware the local community and forest staff towards conserving the gharial and other associated fauna. We will be conducting awareness campaigns in various educational as well public institutions to educate people regarding the status of gharials and the urgent need to conserve them. Upon completion, we expect to have better insight in life history of the threatened Gharial and a strong network of local community and our team who will work together in saving the critically endangered reptile.
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