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Punjab Govt to protect endangered reptiles; Gilzian releases 24 Gharials under rehabilitation project

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Tanda, December 5, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
Gharial reintroduction in the Beas Conservation Reserve is a prestigious project of Government of Punjab. Gharial (Gavialis Gangeticus) is a critically endangered species and found in north Indian rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Chambal and in some rivers of Nepal and Bangladesh. Gharials were commonly sighted in the Beas River till 1960s and later became extinct. Government of Punjab with this project aims to establish the breeding population of Gharial in the Beas conservation Reserve and ensure its long-term conservation.

In Phase-I of the project, 47 Gharials were released in Year 2017-2018 in the Beas Conservation Reserve in Amritsar and Tarn Taran district of Punjab.

In Phase-II of the project, 23 Gharials were released in February 2021 on a suitable island near Saleempur and Tahli Forest in district Hoshiarpur of Punjab.

Joint field surveys conducted by Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation Punjab and WWF- India indicate that currently dispersal of Gharials is widespread in the Beas Conservation Reserve. 40- 50% of the released Gharials are sighted during the field survey. The Gharials are healthy and have adapted the Beas conservative reserve as home.

In phase-III of the project, 24 Gharials are released today on 5th December near the Kulla Fatta forests in the Beas Conservation Reserve in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab by Respected Forest Minister Shri Sangat Singh Gilzian. Mr. R.K. Mishra I.F.S. PCCF/ Chief Wildlife Warden Punjab, Forests was present on this occasion and described about the project of Gharial reintroduction and it’s benefits to the ecosystem. Mr. Charchil Kumar I.F.S. Chief Conservator of Forests, Shri Manish Kumar I.F.S. Conservator of Forests, Sh. T. Ganana Prakash I.F.S. Conservator of Forests, Shri Gursharan Singh P.F.S. DFO Wildlife Hoshiarpur and Ms. Gitanjali Kanwar Coordinator, WWF-India were also present during the release of Gharials in the Beas Conservation Reserve.

On this occasion following were also launched by the Wildlife wing of Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation, Punjab in the presence of Forests Minister, Shri Sangar Singh Gilzia:

1. a coffee table book on Gharial reintroduction and effort of government of Punjab was also launched which describes the planning and efforts of various stakeholders in this project.

2. New website of wildlife wing https://wildlife.punjab.gov.in/index was also launched which is people friendly and contains lot of information about the wildlife in Punjab.

3. A mobile app regarding issue of hunting licence (for allowed animals) and giving NOC for arm licenses in areas of 10 KM periphery of wildlife sanctuary has been launched by Hon’ble Forest minister. It will provide much relief to the public as they will not require to visit any office. Public can apply for these services and get the digital certificate with the comfort of sitting at home.

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