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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rare Indian Crocs Dying Inexplicably

The gharial is a crocodilian reptile with a long snout for catching fish. They are one of the longest crocodiles, growing up to 20' in length and are sometimes called the Indian Crocodile. Gharial have been on the endangered species list for decades. Indian government funding has allowed for the Indian Crocodile to be bred in captivity and around 500 were released into the wild in 1986, but few are thought to have survived.

At least 20 have been found dead along the shores of the Chambal River in India over the past 3 days. Analysis shows cirrhosis of the liver to be the cause of death. Poisoning is not suspected, as no fish have died.

Some experts believe the gharial are unable to adapt to conditions outside of the zoos in which they were raised, while others blame pollution and other factors.

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