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About Mugger Crocodile

Context:

According to a recent study, anthropogenic threats like illegal fishing and sand mining pose a threat to the mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus plaustris) of the Rapti River flowing along the Chitwan National Park.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Species in News, Conservation of Ecology and Biodiversity)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Crocodile Species Found in India
  2. Key Facts About the Rapti River

Crocodile Species Found in India

I- Marsh Crocodile/Mugger
  • Restricted to the Indian subcontinent, Mugger or Marsh crocodiles are generally found in freshwater habitats including lakes, marshes and rivers. They may also be found in coastal saltwater lagoons and estuaries.
  • They are listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List. They are also Listed in the Appendix I of CITES and Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • They are an egg-laying and hole-nesting species which preys on fish, reptiles, birds and mammals.
  • The main cause of their vulnerable status is habitat destruction, fragmentation, and transformation, fishing activities and use of crocodile parts for medicinal purposes.
  • This species of crocodile are already extinct in Myanmar and Bhutan. 
II- Saltwater Crocodile
  • The saltwater crocodiles, also known as the estuarine crocodile, are believed to be the largest crocodile species living on Earth.
  • They are listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List. They are also Listed in the Appendix I of CITES and Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • In India, it inhabits Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park, the Sundarbans in West Bengal and the Andamans and Nicobar Islands. They can also be found across Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
  • It is capable of prevailing over almost any animal that enters its territory and ambushes most of its prey and then drowns or swallows it as a whole.
  • Its reputation as a man-eater is one of the biggest reasons for its hunting and a threat to its existence. It is also hunted for its skin and another major cause of its decorating population is loss of habitat.
III- Gharial
  • The gharial, also known as the gavial is the longest of all living crocodilians and they have long and thin snouts which resemble an earthen pot (known as “Ghara” in Hindi”), and thus, are called gharial,
  • They are listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List. They are also Listed in the Appendix I of CITES and Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • It currently inhabits rivers in the plains of the northern part of the Indian subcontinent and the Chambal river in the northern slopes of the Vindhya mountains is known as the primary habitat of gharials.
  • The main causes of this decline include illegal sand mining, poaching, habitat destruction, floods and massive scale fishing operations.

Key Facts About the Rapti River

The Rapti River is a significant waterway in Nepal and India. Here are some key facts about the river:

  • Origin: The Rapti River originates in the Mahabharat Hills and lower range of the Himalayas.
  • Path: It flows westward along the northern border of the Chitwan National Park in Nepal and then through the Awadh and Purvanchal regions of Uttar Pradesh state in India.
  • Drainage Area: The river drains the Rapti zone in the Mid-Western Region of Nepal and parts of Uttar Pradesh in India.
  • Tributaries: The Rapti River has several tributaries, including the Rohini, Babiya, and Karra rivers.
  • Joining Point: The river meets the Ghaghara River, which is a major left-bank tributary of the Ganga River, in Uttar Pradesh, India.
  • Importance: The Rapti River is essential for irrigation and agriculture in the regions it flows through. It is also an important source of water for the wildlife in the Chitwan National Park.
  • Environmental Concerns: The Rapti River faces several environmental concerns, including pollution, deforestation, and climate change, which can impact the river’s health and the communities that rely on it.

-Source: Down to Earth


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