Baby gharials have returned to the Yamuna river despite it being one of the most polluted rivers in India, much to the amusement of environmental activists and wildlife officials.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, the gharials laid eggs in Etawah, which is about 30 kilometres upstream from Yamuna. Then a few days later, the infants swam towards Yamuna along with the whole clan. The locals said that two of the babies died but the others can still be spotted.
This is the first time in almost a decade that the gharials have ventured into the Yamuna since they mostly prefer to stay in their natural habitats in Chambal. The wildlife officials have suggested that the fact that humans are staying away due to the coronavirus lockdown may be responsible for this unusual event. The coronavirus lockdown has significantly improved the water quality in the Yamuna which may have made it suitable for the gharials to breed and lay eggs.
IFS officer Susanta Nanda also tweeted about the event.
Heart warming news during the pandemic.— Susanta Nanda IFS (@susantananda3) June 26, 2020
The ghariyals of the Chambal river have chosen in a big way to nest and breed in the Yamuna, one of the most polluted rivers. After a decade almost due to less pollution reports HT.
Do you know the Southern limit of Gharials in India? pic.twitter.com/N19KgxM4G2
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed the first lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus on March 24, human activity near the Yamuna has dramatically gone down. Soon after, photos and videos of a cleaner and a visibly bluer Yamuna had emerged on social media. In fact, some reports suggested that migratory birds and some of the marine life were also returning.
Not just the gharials, many other animals around the world have reportedly returned to their natural habitat as humans stayed indoors. Planet earth, stressed by the industrial boom, climate change and globalisation, seemed to be getting the break it deserved. Pollution levels are comparatively low, the ozone layer is healing and the animals are coming out to play.
For instance, a small Indian civet had been spotted on the streets of Kerala in March this year, when the lockdown restrictions had just been imposed. In fact, in an extremely rare occurrence, a nilgai was spotted outside a shopping mall in Noida!
In April, Mumbai saw thousands of flamingos in the metropolitan region, especially in Navi Mumbai, Uran, Thane Creek, Panju Island and Vasai. Officials from the Nathuram Kokare of Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary attributed the rise in number of flamingos to 'less polluted water, air' and also the 'improvement in the quality of the algae', which is the primary food for the birds.
The images and videos of the flamingos also went viral on social media, with people expressing their awe at the sight of it.