Impact of Mass Mortility of Gharial Gavialis gangeticus (Gmelin, 1789) on its Conservation in the Chambal River in Rajasthan

  • Asghar NawabEmail author
  • Dhruva Jyoti Basu
  • Sanjeev Kumar Yadav
  • Parikshit Gautam


This chapter attempts to elucidate conservation ecology of Gharial and critically examines the impact of mass deaths on the conservation prospects of Gharial in National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary (NCWLS), Rajasthan. The Gharial Gavialis gangeticus is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List and is the only surviving species of the crocodilian family Gavialidae, endemic to the Indian subcontinent. Less than 1,400 individuals survive in the wild today, of which less than 200 are breeding-sized adults. On the verge of extinction in mid-1970s, populations in several protected areas have been supplemented with the captive reared Gharial since 1979, as a part of conservation efforts. NCWLS is a tri-state sanctuary, managed separately by the forest departments of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Sadly, between December 2007 and March 2008, deaths of 111 Gharial were recorded, mostly from a 40-km long segment of the river, extending from Barahi of district Bhind, Madhya Pradesh, to Udi (downstream Sahson) in district Etawah, Uttar Pradesh. Preliminary veterinary findings point out to toxicants as the cause of deaths, however, their nature, composition, source and pathway to the affected Gharial are not clear. Threats such as proposed modification of river flow by dam construction could acutely reverse conservation gains in what is probably the last viable refuge of the species and also jeopardise survival of the Critically Endangered Painted Roof Turtle, which is also found here.


Indian Subcontinent Wildlife Sanctuary Critically Endanger Erode River Bank Head Jerk 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I express our gratitude to Dr BK Sharma (Head, Department of Zoology), R.L. Saharia Government College, Jaipur and Dr. Seema Kulshreshtha (co-editors) and Dr. AR Rahmani, Director, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai (co-editor) for providing me the opportunity to publish this manuscript. I thank my colleagues at WWF-India for their support and encouragements during this review study. I thank the anonymous referee(s) for reviewing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asghar Nawab
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dhruva Jyoti Basu
    • 1
  • Sanjeev Kumar Yadav
    • 1
  • Parikshit Gautam
    • 1
  1. 1.Freshwater and Wetlands Programme, World Wide Fund for Nature–IndiaNew DelhiIndia

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