Ahead of releasing ghari-yals in the Ganga after 17 years,the state Forest department has taken the recourse to religion to make people aware about the need to conserve the species.
The awareness drive launched by the government in association with the World Wide Fund (WWF) or Nature not only cites the religious significance of ghariyals but has also termed them as Ganga Vahaan.
Religious heads of various muths have been roped in this effort,too.
This tool has been proved to be effective in conservation of dolphins. It helps in conserving the species if you relate it to the religious sentiments of the people instead of narrating scientific details, said Parikshit Gautam,director of Fresh Water and Wetlands Programme of WWF-India.
The WWF pamphlets not only give information about ghariyals but also states the religious relevance of the species. Calling the ghariyals as equivalent to God,the pamphlet quotes Bhagvad Geeta stating religious importance of ghariyals in the sermons of the Lord Krishna.
The religious heads of various maths have been asked to state the religious importance of the species in their sermons. While giving sermons on Ganga,they can also narrate the religious importance of ghariyal. This further helps the locals to give respect to the species, said Chandra Bhawan,DFO Meerut.
Conservator of Endangered Species,Uttar Pradesh,Eva Sharma said: People generally mistake ghariyals with crocodiles and consider them as dangerous. To dispel the myth,we are distributing pamphlets.
A total of 132 ghariyals will be released in the rivers in two batches of 66 each in January and February.
Ghariyal is a critically endangered species clubbed under schedule (I) of the Wildlife Protection Act.