- December 19, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject – Environment
Context – After 50 years, gharials alive and kicking in Beas Reserve
- Gharials, sometimes called gavials, are a type of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts which resembles a pot (ghara in Hindi).
- Population of Gharials are a good indicator of clean river water.
- Gharials are a type of Crocodilians that also includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, etc. India has three species of Crocodilians namely:
- Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus): International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)- Critically Endangered.
- Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris): IUCN- Vulnerable
- Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus): IUCN- Least Concern
- In comparison to Crocodiles, Gharials are very shy and unharmful species.
Gharial reintroduction in the Beas Conservation Reserve
- The Beas Conservation Reserve is a 185-kilometre stretch of the Beas River located primarily in the north-west of the State of Punjab.
- 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.
- The gharial can be found in north Indian rivers such as the Ganga, Yamuna and Chambal and their tributaries.
- The Reserve also hosts the only known population in India of the endangered Indus river dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor).
- Further threatened species include the endangered masheer (Tor putitora) and hog deer (Axis porcinus) as well as the vulnerable smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata).
- In 2017, a programme was initiated to re-introduce the critically endangered gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) with 47 individuals released into the River 30 years after their disappearance.
- The Beas originates near the Rohtang Pass, at a height of 4,062 m above sea level, on the southern end of the Pir Panjal Range, close to the source of the Ravi.
- It is a tributary of Indus river.
- It meets the Satluj river at Harike in Punjab.
- It is a comparatively small river which is only 460 km long but lies entirely within the Indian territory.
- The river flows through Kullu Valley.
- It forms a gorge at Kati and Largi in the Dhauladhar range.
- Harike wetland is a Ramsar site, a wetland of international importance.