Virginia Aquarium False Gharial Dies
A rare Tomistoma schlegelii crocodilian died last week at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Grover, a 28-year-old 13-foot false gharial (also known as a gavial) had been living at the aquarium for the last four years and was found dead in his enclosure. Grover was in the enclosure with his mate Gloria, in hopes that they would breed successfully as the species is very rare. They had produced several eggs over the years, but none were viable. Grover was part of the aquarium's Restless Planet gallery and was a favorite animal among visitors, according to the aquarium.
Photo by Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.
Grover, the False Gharial.
"It is always a tragedy to lose an animal, but losing such a rare and precious one is doubly difficult,” said Aquarium Executive Director Lynn Clements. "Certainly our staff, and many of our regular visitors, will mourn his loss.”
False gharials are listed as endangered species by the IUCN with populations in the wild to be estimated at less than 2,500 adult specimens. They are native to Malaysia, Sarawak, Sumatra and Borneo. The males grow to about 15 feet in length while the females tend to grow to about 10 feet in length. They are distinguished from other crocodilians due to their very slim snout and needle-like teeth.