Target: President of India Pranab Mukherjee
Goal: Protect the endangered gharial from extinction
The Ganges River dolphin is one of India’s most well-known endangered species, but another aquatic animal desperately needs the same sort of attention: the less photogenic gharial. A crocodilian species with a long, very narrow snout, the gharial is on the verge of extinction. One of India’s three native crocodiles, it survives in only 2% of its original range and is in desperate need of protection. Demand that the Indian government take steps to end this population decline and protect gharials.
The gharial is imperiled by habitat loss due to sand mining, the construction of dams, and accidental entrapment in fishing nets. Sand-mining destroys necessary habitat the gharial needs for basking and nesting. Agricultural operations contribute to habitat loss as well. Shy and wary animals, they are also disturbed by human activities which may make them forgo or be unable to nest or bask. They must also contend with the threat of pollution, as India waterways are notoriously contaminated, which threatens both gharials and the fish upon which they depend. Hatchlings are threatened by the release of monsoon overflow waters. With massive tidal-wave like effects, gharials are washed out of protected areas, some even into the ocean.
With so many threats to contend with and populations already at critical levels, the gharial needs all the help it can get. The International Reptile Conservation Foundation is one organization dedicated to saving the gharial population, but it faces great difficulty due to the rapid disappearance of gharial populations and the continuing and unchecked habitat destruction, pollution, and hunting.
Though some protected areas exist, there must be greater effort made to conserve this species. Sign the petition below to demand greater protection for gharials.
Dear President Pranab Mukherjee,
I urge you to enact greater protections for the critically endangered gharial. The pollution of rivers, loss of habitat due to sand-mining, and destructive development threatens to wipe the remaining population from existence. Gharials inhabit only 2% of their former range and are still facing threats in protected areas.
Unless a new system of protection is enacted, the gharial may very well disappear in this lifetime. I must ask that you address the threats they face on all fronts, and enact a protection plan that will stop their extinction and take steps toward conserving and rebuilding the population, including stricter regulations against sand-mining and preventative steps to prevent habitat destruction.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Justin Griffiths via Wikimedia Commons