Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on 17 April 2015 approved release of Gharials in Sutlej and Beas rives in the state to promote eco-tourism.
Initially, 10 Gharials (last surviving species of the family Gavialidae) will be released in the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary as a part of ‘Gharial Recovery Action Plan’.
Decision in this regard was taken after recommendations of the State Board for Wildlife.
Union Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) also had given permission for release of Gharials under Section 12 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is also known as the gavial.
- It is a fish-eating crocodile and belongs to one of the three crocodilian species found in the Indian Sub-Continent.
- It is listed in Schedule I of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- It is also listed as Critically Endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species.
- In historic times it was present in Indus River system, including Beas and Sutlej rivers, indicating healthy river system.