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Population of critically endangered Gharial up in Babai River

- KAMAL PANTHI, BARDIYA

May 10, 2018-The population of critically endangered gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) is increasing in the Babai river that flows through the Bardiya National Park (BNP).

According to the BNP, 70 gharials have been spotted in the river lately. Badri Binod Dahal, the park’s assistant conservation officer, said the gharial numbers were increasing thanks to the availability of prey and suitable habitat around Parewa Odar area in the Babai river.

Two years ago, there were only 18 gharials in the Babai river.

Meanwhile, the gharial population has declined in the Karnali river. As per the data available at the BNP, there are just four gharials in Karnali these days. Until two decades earlier, there were more than 40 gharials in Karnali, said a BNP official. Conservationists say overfishing, sand mining, construction of river dams and overall increased human activities have led to the decline in gharial population in the Karnali river. To conserve gharials, the BNP has established a breeding centre that successfully bred more than 30 gharials for the first time in 2016. The centre currently houses 45 gharials and 7 mugger crocodiles. In Nepal, gharials have been enlisted as the protected species.

Published: 10-05-2018 08:25

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