Reintroduced gharials thriving in Beas reserve: experts

What is the news?

The Critically Endangered Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) has been successfully reintroduced in the Beas River of Punjab where it had become extinct half a century ago.

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About Gharial Reintroduction in Beas River

The gharial reintroduction in the Beas Conservation Reserve is an ambitious programme of the Punjab government. The reptiles were commonly sighted in the Beas River till the 1960s, but later became extinct.

Now, as part of the programme, 94 gharials have been released in the reserve since 2017.

Why did Gharials go extinct in Beas River?

Gharials may have gone extinct due to a) change in the hydrology due to construction of dams and barrages b) significantly reduced water flow c) rapid land-use change of floodplains and d) rampant overfishing led slowly into the extinction of the gharial from the Beas.

What is the Beas Conservation Reserve?

Beas Conservation Reserve is located in Punjab. It spreads over a 185-km stretch of the Beas river.

The reserve has been notified as a Ramsar Site in January, 2020.

The reserve hosts the only known population in India of the endangered Indus River dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor). 

Further, threatened species in the reserve include the endangered masheer (Tor putitora) and hog deer (Axis porcinus) as well as the vulnerable smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata).

Source: This post is based on the article Reintroduced gharials thriving in Beas reserve: experts published in The Hindu on 19th Dec 2021.

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