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Fresh Water Crocodiles (Mugger & Gharial)

Table of contents
  • Context (TI): Wildlife biologists at the National Chambal Sanctuary report an increase in the mugger population, posing a serious threat to gharials.
  • Muggers, though smaller, are more agile and often win confrontations with gharials.
  • The mugger population in Chambal shows higher genetic diversity compared to gharials, indicating a successful colonisation.


  • Gharials, sometimes called gavials, are a type of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts.
  • Distribution: The only viable population in the National Chambal Sanctuary is spread across the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh in India.Small non-breeding populations exist in Son, Gandak, Hoogly and Ghagra rivers.
  • Habitat: Clean rivers with sand banks (Fresh Water).
  • Conservation Status: IUCN: Critically Endangered | WPA, 1972: Schedule-I
  • Threats: The combined effects of dams, barrages, artificial embankments, changes in river course, pollution, sand-mining, riparian agriculture and ingress of domestic and feral livestock.

Mugger Crocodile

  • The mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) is a medium-sized broad-snouted crocodile.
  • Distribution: The mugger is found in 15 Indian states, with the largest populations in the middle Ganges (Bihar-Jharkhand) and Chambal (Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan) basins.
  • Habitat: It is native to freshwater and inhabits marshes, lakes, rivers and artificial ponds.
  • Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable | WPA, 1972: Schedule-I | CITES: Appendix I
  • Threats: Habitat destruction, fragmentation, and transformation, as well as fishing activities and the use of crocodile parts for medicinal purposes.

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