Conservation status: VULNERABLE
Common name: Malayan gharial, Sunda gharial, Tomistoma
Scientific name: Tomistoma schlegelii
Length: up to 5 meters (male)
Weight: 190 – 210 kg
This freshwater crocodilian is commonly known as the “false gharial” because they resemble gharials (and are genetically related) but lack the distinctive “ghara” (earthen pot looking nose) at the end of the snout. Unlike their cousins which consume mostly fish, they are known to prey on vertebrates like Proboscis monkeys, long-tailed macaques, and even cows. There were unfortunate instances of human fatalities due to increasing encounters driven by the reduction and isolation of their natural habitat.
False gharials face threats of extinction with less than 2,500 mature individuals remaining in the wild. The drainage of freshwater swamplands, diminishing rainforests, and hunting (yes, for the skin, meat, and eggs) are known to be threatening causes for such a decline in population.