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December 28, 2009

Conservationists rejoice as alligator population rises in Madhya Pradesh

     Morena (MP): The natural breeding of alligators in the Chambal river in Madhya Pradesh has delighted both residents and authorities, as it indicates a positive turnaround in the survival of reptiles. Two years after a deadly disease severely affected the local alligator population, the natural breeding of the reptiles has come as a ray of hope for conservationists and the authorities of the region. "There are no signs of mass mortality, which killed the alligators back in 2007-08, over here. The alligators are protected and absolutely healthy over here. We are making great efforts to preserve their species in this area. They are not suffering from any disease and they are healthy," said Dr H C Bhadauriya, a member of the Alligator Eco Centre. He said there had been an increase in the local alligator population, from 450 to over a thousand. The authorities are celebrating the fact that there are now many alligator hatchlings in the river, but also concede that protecting them from the monsoon and disease is a challenge. An increase in the alligator population is a deemed to be good sign for conservation of the world's environment. "An increase in the number of alligators is a good sign for the Chambal Sanctuary, our country, and the whole world. It will help preserve the world's environmental heritage and contribute towards wildlife conservation," said Dr S K Mittal, an alligator expert. Various species of alligators and crocodiles are endangered, and some are nearly extinct now, largely from the loss of habitat. Alligators were on the verge of extinction in the 1970s but the Indian government's alligator rehabilitation project, which was started in 1975, helped increase the population of the alligators again.
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