Tuesday, February 08, 2011

GHARIAL (GAVIAL): Fight for the Future

Preferring deep rivers to swim in, Gharial rarely leaves his waters except to bask on sandbanks.  Well suited for his life in the water, He has a flattened tail and webbed feet.  Also, his slender jaw and needle sharp teeth add to make Gharial a “lean, mean fish-eating machine”.
            This strange Crocodilian has been placed in his own family of Gavialidae.  His name “Gharial” is derived from the Hindi word for pot (“ghara”).  At the top of Gharial’s nose is a boss or protuberance, which looks like a pot.  He uses this boss to hum and make bubbles, which is how He attracts Female Gharials to join his harem.
            This distinctive Reptile is close to extinction.  By 1975, fewer than seventy Gharials lived in the wild.  Because of pollution and habitat destruction, Gharial’s recovery has been problematic since then.  Meanwhile, the Indian government has continued various measures to save the Gharial.  Massive sanctuaries have been created, and local peoples recruited to aid in their effort to save Him.  A concerted effort by many people worldwide is fighting to keep Gharial from disappearing from the earth.
            The lesson that Gharial teaches is to never give up hope.  Always fight for the future as those aiding this Reptile have.  Instead of accepting doom, Gharial soldiers on to gain purchase for his existence.
Science Note:
The difference between Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and False Gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii) is where they live.  False Gharial lives in Indonesia and Malaysia, while true Gharials live in northern India.

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