Another gharial dead in Harike - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Another gharial dead in Harike

Another gharial dead in Harike

GS Paul
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, September 13

The Centre sponsored Wildlife Preservation Department’s much-touted ‘Project crocodile’ suffered a blow when the carcass of another ‘gharial’ was found floating in the Harike lake.

Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife) Ferozepur, Kalpana said the exact cause of death would be ascertained only after the detailed post-mortem report comes.

This was the second instance within three months that has reduced ‘gharial’ count to 45 in the Beas stream.

Earlier, on June 23, a similar long-snouted species of crocodile was spotted dead near Gate No. 1 of Ferozepur feeder, where there is a convergence of the Sutlej and Beas.

Sources said the carcass was spotted around 9 am yesterday near Gate No. 5 of the Harike headworks by local residents who further informed the Wildlife Department. The carcass was pulled out of water and sent to Patti Veterinary Hospital.

A three-member team of doctors led by Dr Jasdeep Singh conducted the post-mortem. Later, the carcass was confined to flames, sources said.

“We have sent organs to Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana, to conduct chemical examination which will reveal the exact cause of death. Prima facie, it appeared to be respiratory failure, but it would still be too early to come on a conclusion as it could be an accidental death too,” Kalpana said.

She ruled out the possibility of water pollution with Sutlej believed to be contaminated with industrial waste from Ludhiana side. She believed that had it been the cause, it would have affected other small reptiles and fish also.

World Wildlife Fund-India, Punjab, chairperson Gunbir Singh said the recent surge in the water level could have caused the accidental death.

Endangered species

Gharials are critically endangered, with over 80% drop in population in the past decade. Under the Centre’s ‘Project Crocodile’ started in 1975, the Wildlife Preservation Department released the reptiles in 3 batches into the Harike — 10 on December 25, 2017; 15 on January 31, 2018 and 22 on March 15, 2018.

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