BHOPAL: Deori gharial rearing centre in Morena is buzzing with activities these days. Hatchlings have started emerging out of eggs of gharial collected from national Chambal sanctuary. As many as 120 hatchlings have come out of 200 eggs, which were collected from the river. All eggs will be hatched by month-end. 
Under grow and release programme of endangered species of crocodile, these hatchlings will be reared in the centre till they are 3-year-old and attain a length of 1.2 metres before releasing tough skinned reptiles in different parts of Chambal river in MP. R K Sharma, research officer, for the centre said, "As their number started declining in river, it became necessary to rear them in this centre as chances of their survival in wild are more when they are 3-year- old." 
Survival rate of gharials after they come out from eggs in wild is as low as 3%, he said. But when they are released three years later, their survival rate is as much as 50 %, Sharma added. An exercise to collect eggs was carried out on May 16 and 17 from Baroli-an island in Chambal, where a large number of gharial nests were located. Characterized by elongated narrow snout with sharp teeth, they are also known as fish eating crocodiles as they mostly feed on fish and their jaws are not strong enough to make a kill of any mammal or large prey. 
This harmless creature, biggest predator in Chambal, helps monitor complex river ecosystem. Its number was declining due to habitat loss, poaching and sand mining among others, Sharma said and added Survival of gharial in Chambal is necessary to keep river pollution-free. Following conservation efforts, number of gharials has gone up from 1,088 last year to 1,150 in 2015. 


Source: Times of India (Dated 28 May 2015)