Telemetry offers new insight on Gharial deaths

Posted on
27 June 2008
June 27, 2008, New Delhi: “We could be closer than ever before in understanding the real cause of gharial deaths”, said Mr. Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF-India and Chairman of Gharial Crisis Management Group at an event here at New Delhi. He added, “Fundamental gaps in the knowledge of gharial biology were highlighted in the course of investigations of gharial mortalities that occurred in Chambal. We are hopeful that telemetry test currently underway on gharials will fill in gaps in our understanding of this species.”

Mr. Singh was speaking at the Environment and Health Public Lecture series organized by Toxic Links and India International Centre here at New Delhi. He added, “We anticipate that this study will yield new important information on gharials and their habitats like assessment of health and status of gharial population in crisis zone, and procurement of essential data for a comprehensive species conservation plan in Chambal.

It may be recalled that more than 100 Gharials (Gavalis Gangeticus) were lost in the National Chambal Sanctuary since December 2007. A multi-disciplinary team under the chairmanship of Mr. Ravi Singh was set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, to study the possible causes of these mortalities and suggest ways to prevent future cases.

“Death of any specie in such large numbers is a clear indicator of release of heavy toxic material into Gharials natural habitat and points at lax regulatory rules. Immediate action is required from the Government to avoid such large-scale loss to our environment”, said Satish Sinha, Associate Director, Toxics Link.

“The series, which is open to anyone interested in issues of environment and health as it impacts our everyday lives, has over the years provided a space for an open debate which informs. Re-examining and questioning policies and practices that are in place; and alerts on areas of critical context”, said Lalsawmliani Tochhawng, Programme Officer, IIC.

Gharial is threatened by human pressure and is fighting a battle for survival today. It is threatened by shrinking pray-base, illegal sand mining, river - bed cultivation, fishing and river pollution.


Notes to the Editor:

1. The Environmental and Health Public Lecture Series hosted by Toxics Link and India International Centre has been a journey of six years. Over 70 lectures and a myriad of environmental debates have raged in IIC Conference Room No I every month. May it be Delhi's disappearing trees, a story of tribal migration, water birds, endangered tigers, the National Capital's air pollution crisis or the Right to

Information Act, the list is long. It could have a film, lecture or panel discussion. For over six years the IIC Conference Room No I has been a rare space for the members and general public for a vital connect to issues of environment and health, which otherwise get reduced to the margins or are turned into snippets of news media.

At a time when the issue of environment is emerging as a crosscutting agenda for people from all walks of life, this platform allowed free exchange of ideas that often would have consigned to drawing rooms and coffee tables. For those who wished for an informed scrutiny and feedbacks, filmmakers, activists and experts, this space was an accessible platform. Free from trappings of agenda or vested interest.

2. Toxics Link - Toxics Link is an environmental NGO, dedicated to bringing toxics related information into the public domain, both relating to struggles and problems at the grassroots as well as global information to the local levels. We work with other groups around the country as well as internationally in an understanding that this will help bring the experience of the ground to the fore, and lead to a more meaningful articulation of issues. Toxics Link also engages in on-the-ground work, especially in areas of municipal, hazardous and medical waste management, and food safety, among others. Working in networks, utilising community outreach and education, policy analysis, research, training and program development, we work at the state and central levels to help create solutions, which are driven by the needs of people. We are also involved in a wider range of environmental issues in Delhi and outside as part of a coalition of non-governmental organisations.

3. WWF-India: WWF-India is the largest organization engaged in wildlife and nature conservation in the country. Established as a Charitable Trust in 1969, it has an experience of over three decades in the field. With modest beginnings, the organization was propelled forward by the efforts of its founders and associates who volunteered their time and energy to lend momentum to this movement. A part of WWF International, the organization has made its presence felt through a sustained effort not only towards nature and wildlife conservation,
but sensitizing people by creating awareness through capacity building and environ-legal activism. A challenging, constructive, science-based organization WWF addresses issues like the survival of species and habitats, climate change and environmental education.

For more information, please contact:
Pragya Mazumdar,
Senior Programme Coordinator, Toxic Links
Tel: +91-11-24328006, 24320711 

Anshuman Atroley,

Communications Manager, WWF-India
Tel: +91-11-4150 4797


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