Daily News Analysis

Orang National Park                                          

11th January, 2022 Environment

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Context: Orang National Park is expanded tiger reserve to see return of gharials in Assam.

 

More about news:

  • The government has issued notification to make Orang National Park more than thrice its existing size.
  • Much of the area to be added comprises the Brahmaputra river and the sandbars or islands in it.

 

Why there is need to revive gharials population in Assam?

  • Gharial, wiped out from the Brahmaputra River system in the 1950s.

 

About Orang National Park:

  • Location: located on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra river in Assam.
  • Flora and fauna: includes great Indian rhinoceros, pygmy hog, Asian elephant, wild water buffalo and Bengal tiger.
  • Pachnoi river, Belsiri river and Dhanshiri River border the park and join the Brahmaputra river.
  • It is the only stronghold of rhinoceros on the north bank of the Brahmaputra river.

 

Other Protected areas in Assam:

  • Orang is one of the seven national parks in Assam.
  • The others are Kaziranga, Manas, Nameri, Dibru-Saikhowa, Raimona and Dehing Patkai.

        

About gharials:

 

  • Ecological role: Gharials are the topmost predators in a river. They (gharial) balance the riverine food chain.
  • Indicator species: Gharial keeps in check their prey (i.e. fish), which keep in check their prey and so on. The presence of gharials indicates a healthy riverine ecosystem.
  • Naming: The male gharial has a distinctive boss at the end of the snout, which resembles an earthenware pot known in Hindias.

 

Conservation Status:

 

  • Critically Endangered— IUCN Red List.
  • It is a Schedule 1 species under Indian wildlife act, 1972

 

Habitat:

 

  • Girwa River, Chambal River, Ken River, Son River, Mahanadi River, Ramganga River

 

Threats:

 

  • Hunting for skins, trophies and indigenous medicine and their eggs collected for consumption.
  • Decrease of riverine habitat as dams, barrages, irrigation canals and artificial embankments were built; siltation and sand-mining changed river courses

 

Conservation efforts in India:

 

  • Project Crocodile for intensive captive breeding and rearing program began in 1975 (Government of India+ United Nations Development Fund + Food and Agriculture Organization)

 

Protected areas for gharial in India:

 

  • National Chambal Sanctuary- Madhya Pradesh
  • Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary- Uttar Pradesh

 

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/expanded-tiger-reserve-may-see-return-of-gharials-in-assam/article38190380.ece