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WANTED: Information about Crocodilians known as Gharial, Mugger, Crocodiles, Alligators in British India

FIBIS have received an interesting request for help from conservation biologist Jeffrey Lang and are hoping some of our members or subscribers may be able to help him.

gharial

Above: Image of a gharial near Old Mari on the Indus River, February 1931, credited to Gp Capt Ralph Bagshaw Ward, and used with permission granted by the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King’s College London, on behalf of the family of R.B. Ward specifically for this purpose.

I am a conservation biologist reconstructing the distribution and abundance of the three species of crocodilians from south Asia. These are the gharial, the mugger, and the saltwater crocodile, as we know them today. In the travel, hunting, fishing narratives they are referred to by a variety of “crocodile” names, such as those in the heading above. Most accounts distinguish the long snouters=gharial from the others, often referring to muggers as short or snub snouters.

Any archival / family photos are particularly useful, particularly if there is general locality information about where and when it was taken. Any descriptions of crocodilians in family narratives and /or letters, notes, papers, diaries would also be of interest.

Please send relevant information or feel free to contact me at [email protected] or respond through FIBIS c/o Valmay Young. The information will be used in current assessment of gharial Red List status as “Critically Endangered” and may be included in upcoming book being prepared by Professor Lang. He is leading a current project detailed on FACEBOOK “Gharial Ecology Project” on Chambal River, n. India.

Jeffrey W. Lang
Professor, U.North Dakota, U.Minnesota

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