Bleeding the Chambal Dry

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Reckless water hoarding, diversion, sand mining and fishing are killing a pristine river that once used to recast its vast ravines every flood. Jay Mazoomdaar on the curse of the Chambal.

This article originally appeared in Tehelka, 8 March, 2013.

In a culture where rivers are worshipped, the Chambal, by all means mightier than the Yamuna, would be slighted as a tributary of the latter. Unsurprisingly, no great cities or shrines came up on its banks. This traditional isolation fostered … Read More

Gharial Population Estimation in the Chambal and Conservation Implications

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India’s Chambal River hosts the largest population of the critically endangered Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus). In the 1970s, the total population of the Gharial was estimated at less than 200, following which conservation programmes involving the creation of protected areas and rear-and-release programmes were established. But, despite the release of over 5000 gharials into various Indian rivers over the past few decades, only about 200 breeding adults reportedly still survive. These programmes were poorly monitored and their outcome never … Read More

Marsh Crocodile Dead In Fishing Net, Chambal River

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Fishing is a big activity in the National Chambal Sanctuary (that extends over three Indian states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh). Reptiles (even mammals and birds) get entangled in the nets and drown while trying to catch a fish already entangled in the nets. Every year many Gharials and Marsh Crocodiles get entangled in the fishing nets and die. Several scientific studies have shown that a number of aquatic mammals, birds and reptiles, accorded with highly protected status … Read More

MOEF creates new record — 40 clearances in 3 hours!

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At a recent meeting of the national board of wildlife (NBWL) on 25 April, the energetic ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) cleared as many as 40 projects in three hours. The rush has left some members of the board gasping and fuming, since most of them got just 24-72 hours to study project proposals running into hundreds of pages.

One of the projects is permission for setting up the 330-megawatt Dholpur gas-based combined cycle thermal power project (stage II) … Read More

Signs of Gharial revival in Hooghly; Breeding group identified at Purbasthali

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In good news for the seriously threatened Gharial, better than thought before numbers of the reptiles have been counted in the Hooghly. The Gharial population has now been estimated to be around 250 in a 500 km stretch of the Hooghly from Farakka to Tribeni. The population is also apparently breeding, as new born members have also been spotted. The species was considered extinct in that region for about 60 years. The study was done by iRebel, an NGO that … Read More