National

Search for new male gharial to start after polls

  • The only male gharial of the CNP died in May
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 7, 2017-Gharial conservation, which was affected with the death of the only male gharial in May, has been further hit, as search for a new one is yet to start.

The last alpha gharial, belonging to the Chitwan National Park (CNP), had died on May 25 after falling into a net in Narayani River. The incident had put conservationists in deep waters, as there was no other male gharial in the Narayani and Rapti rivers for breeding.

Following the crisis, CNP officials in June had decided that they would start searching for a new male gharial in October. But two months on, the plan is yet to materialise.

CNP Chief Conservation Officer Ram Chandra Kandel said the delay in search of a new alpha has affected gharial conservation efforts.

“We need one male gharial as soon as possible. We couldn’t start searching a new male after the earlier one died, as monsoon had earlier started,” said Kandel.

The CNP said it would soon start searching a new male gharial soon after the elections, the final phase of which is slated for Thursday.

“August floods wreaked havoc across the plains including Chitwan. Our rhinos were washed away and many other wild animals were killed in the floods,” added Kandel.

The search will be based in Bardiya and also in areas bordering India as a total of 70 gharials were left into Babai and Rapti rivers two years ago.

The CNP says it is hoping to find at least one male gharial in these rivers.

Conservation officials in June were also considering approaching their Indian counterparts to help them with at least one male gharial. The Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) Director General Man Bahadur Khadka had said the department could seek help from India.

According to a census conducted in 2016, Nepal has a total 198 gharials—66 in Chitwan National Park and 32 in Bardiya National Park.

Published: 07-12-2017 08:58

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