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Rashmi Ranjan

Nearly two months after 28 Gharial hatchlings were sighted in the Satkosia range of the Mahanadi river- a first in many decades- another hatchling of the critically endangered species was found trapped in a fisherman’s net in the same river at Barda village in Cuttack on Saturday.

The hatchling was trapped when a fisherman had cast his net to catch fish in the river.  

According to sources, the reptile was later rescued by the Forest Department official and taken to the Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar for necessary veterinary care. 

The hatchling will be released to its natural habitat soon, sources in the department said.

It is believed that the hatchling could be part of the float which was sighted at Satkosia in May this year.

Nevertheless, the sight of the hatchlings has brought a fresh lease of hope in the Odisha Forest Department which had been desperately trying to increase the Gharial population in the area for years.

Many environmentalists are of the opinion the breeding was possible because of the fishing ban imposed in the core area.
It may be recalled that a female adult gharial along with 28 hatchlings were sighted in Mahanadi in May this year.

The mother Gharial was spotted with the hatchlings at Satkosia gorge at Mahanadi River under Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary in Angul. Satkosia is the southernmost limit of the Gharial’s natural habitat in India. 

Following the sighting, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had commended the Forest Department officials for their sustained efforts for breeding of Gharial crocodiles in natural environment.

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