Province No. 3

Number of gharial hatchlings increase in CNP breeding centre

- PRAMITA DHAKAL, BHARATPUR

Jun 20, 2019-

The number of hatchlings of critically endangered gharial (Gavialis gangetics) has increased at the Crocodile Breeding Centre in Chitwan National Park.

The breeding centre had collected 284 eggs from 24 nests of gharials from the river banks of Rapti and Narayani from mid-March to mid-May. Out of them, 151 eggs hatched recently. Currently, there are 470 gharials (both adults and hatchlings) in the breeding centre.

Bed Bahadur Khadka, assistant conservation officer of the CNP, said that they have started to collect the eggs as the eggs need protection from natural calamities such as floods, a frequent phenomenon in the two rivers.

“Some of the nests in the river bank areas will be at risk because of flooding and other wild animal’s movement. We have only collected eggs from such nests,” he said.

Last year, the breeding centre had collected 317 eggs from Rapti and Narayani rivers. Among them, 164 eggs were hatched. Usually, gharials hatch their eggs within 70 to 75 days.

Gharial was listed as a critically endangered species in the Red Data Book of the World Conservation Union in 2007. Human activities have posed threats to gharials by causing fragmentation of their natural habitat. In Nepal, gharials have been enlisted as the protected species.

Since 1976, Nepal began conservation of gharials by establishing the breeding centre in Kasara of Chitwan. Every year, gharials from the breeding centres are released in Rapti, Narayani as well as two rivers in western Nepal—Babai and Karnali. As per the latest census, there are 118 gharials in Rapti and 101 in Narayani.

Published: 20-06-2019 08:25

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