Creatures of a lesser God
Take the long-snouted, fish-eating gharial. This crocodilian is extinct in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar and found only in India and Nepal, where we are down to under 200 breeding adults. Put differently, there is no other large animal so close to extinction in India today! The gharial’s only hope of survival seems restricted to the Chambal and Girwa rivers. There is no mega mammalian umbrella here; the crisis is so dire that we urgently need to address the threats to this riverine species head on.
On the other hand, the wet forests of the Western Ghats and the north-east were declared biodiversity hotspots not because of the relatively sparse mega-fauna, but the numerous little creatures. A myriad species of frogs, snakes and other small fry are found in isolated valleys and are not known to live anywhere else; extinction is
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