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News: Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus ) have been successfully reintroduced the in the Beas River of Punjab where it had become extinct half a century ago.
• The Gharial is a fish-eating crocodile is native to the Indian subcontinent. They are a crucial indicator of clean river water.
• Small released populations are present and increasing in the rivers of the National Chambal Sanctuary, Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Son River Sanctuary.It is also found at the rainforest biome of Mahanadi in Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary, Orissa.
• Gharials are ‘Critically Endangered’ in the IUCN Red List of Species.
• The species is also listed under Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
• A major chunk of gharials in India is found in the Chambal River, which has about 1,000 adults.The Ghaghara acts as an important aquatic corridor for gharials in Uttar Pradesh. The river is a major left-bank tributary of the Ganges.Like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar too is releasing gharials in the Valmiki Tiger Reserve as part of restocking the wild population. Unlike crocodiles, gharials do not pose any danger to humans.
• 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.