CNP likely to begin search for new male gharial from Oct

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu

Jun 26, 2017-

Chitwan National Park, which is facing crisis in its gharial conservation effort following the death of its only male gharial last month, is likely to begin its search for a new male gharial from October. 

The last male gharial died on May 25 after getting trapped in a net in the Narayani river. 

Ram Chandra Kandel, chief conservation officer at the CNP, said though there was an urgent need of a male gharial, they can only launch a search operation after the monsoon.  

 “Sighting of crocodiles is not easy when the water is murky,” he said. 

The CNP is planning to search for a male gharial in Bardiya and areas bordering India. A total of 70 gharials – 50 in Babai River and 20 in Karnali River – were spotted two years ago. The CNP officials hope to find a male gharial in these rivers. 

“If we cannot locate any male gharial in Nepali rivers, we could approach Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh, India” Kandel said. 

Man Bahadur Khadka, director general at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, said they will search in Nepali rivers first.

  “We will search in rivers where gharials are found and have been located in the past,” he said.  

He added that the DNPWC can also get one male gharial from India, though an official decision on the matter has not yet been made. 

“We can request for a male gharial from protected parks in India as gharials from Nepali rivers often move downstream to Indian rivers in search of fish or because of floods,” said Khadka.

The 2016 census had put the gharial population in the CNP and the Bardiya National Park at 198. The census also found that female gharials vastly outnumbered their male counterparts.  

Nepal began conservation of gharials since 1976 by establishing breeding centre in Kasara, Chitwan. The breeding centre, which has nearly 500 female gharials, is also left with only one male gharial after the death of its second male gharial last February. 

Published: 26-06-2017 08:17

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