Gwalior zoo successful in increasing alligator population

November 14th, 2007 - 8:30 am ICT by admin  
Officials at the Gwalior zoo are buoyant that they have been successful in increasing the number of alligators.

“At present, we have seven adult alligators-six females and one male. Two months ago, 13 to 14 baby alligators were born and they all are in healthy condition,” said S.K.Mittal, veterinary doctor at the Gwalior Zoo.

The zoo has been picking alligators from the rivers as also bringing eggs and looking after them till they are hatched and helping them to grow till they are reasonably strong. This has been done to prevent them being harmed by other animals.

Alligator lovers from around the world are lending their support for the protection and well-being of alligators in Gwalior.

One such organisation is the World alligator Conservation Union that has taken deep interest in this programme being run by the Gwalior Zoo by providing both logistic and financial support to increase alligator population.

“We have taken a project here. We pick up alligators from Chambal River. Other animals quite often damage the alligator eggs. So we bring the eggs here to provide protection and then we breed them. The young ones of the alligators are very small in size and often get killed by the devastating waves of flood. So we keep alligators with us for three to four years before putting them back to their natural habitation,” said R.J.Rao, a member of the orld Alligators Conservation Union.

The Gwalior Zoo’s success story has influenced many people around the world. Recntly, Lenny Mecaskil, the Superintendent of Disney animal kingdom in Florida, visited seeking suggestions from the zoo officials to increase alligator population in Disney animal kingdom.

The Indian alligators mainly inhabit rivers Brahmaputra, Indus, Mahanadi and Ganges in the subcontinent whereas in countries like Nepal, Pakistan and Myanmar, they have become nearly extinct.

An average American alligator weighs 800 lbs (360 kilograms) and is about 13 feet (4 metre m) long.

An alligator’s lifespan is usually estimated in the range of 50 years or more. Alligators are native to only two countries–the United States and China. The majority of American alligators inhabit Florida and Louisiana.The Chinese alligator currently is found only in the Yangtze River valley and is extremely endangered, with only a couple dozen believed to be left in the wild.

Large male alligators are solitary, territorial animals. Smaller alligators can often be found in large numbers in close proximity to each other. The largest of the species (both males and females), will defend prime territory; smaller alligators have a higher tolerance of other alligators within a similar size class.

Alligators have heavy bodies and slow metabolisms but they are capable of short bursts of speed, especially in very short lunges. Their main prey are smaller animals which they can kill and eat with a single bite. Alligators may kill larger prey by grabbing it and dragging it in the water to drown. By Ashok Pal (ANI)

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