Satkosia Gorge to welcome Six More Gharials

The wildlife wing of the Forest and Environment department has decided to release six more Gharials in the Satkosia gorge. This move aims to revive their population in the Mahanadi river. Last year, five of these ‘critically endangered’ species of crocodile were released in the gorge on a pilot basis.

The wildlife officials will be releasing Gharials of more than two-metre length into the gorge this time. The reptiles will be acclimatised before their release. Fitted with radio transmitters, the officials will be able to identify them and track their migration route in the future.

Measures taken to protect the species include a no-fishing zone between Binikel and Ramaganbali within Satkosia. The forest officials will also conduct awareness programmes involving the locals and the fishing community in Satkosia, Boudh, Athagarh, Athamalik, and Mahanadi wildlife divisions.

A reward of Rs 1,000 will also be provided to those who handover a Gharial accidentally caught in the net to the forest officials. The cost of the damaged net of the fisherman will also be reimbursed. This revival project is being executed by the wildlife wing with support from the Nandankanan Zoo.

After an alarming fall in the number of Gharials in Satkosia gorge, the 21-km narrow stretch of Mahanadi near Tikarpada, the officials of Satkosia wildlife division and Nandanakan Zoo started working on a blueprint last year to increase their population in the river. The authorities had decided to release 30 sub-adult Gharials in a phased manner.

Some Gharials will also be relocated from Nandankanan as their population exceeds the limit. The zoo authorities have also stopped the artificial incubation of the reptiles since 2015.

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