CNP releases male ghariyal into Rapti


Dec 25, 2017-

The Chitwan National Park has finally released a male gharial into the Khoriya of Rapti Dovan area, after bringing it from Babai River in Bardiya.

The CNP had started a search for the crocodile after its only male gharial died on May 25 after getting trapped in a net in the Rapti river.

Winter is the mating season of gharials. Chief Conservation Officer Ram Chandra Kandel said they had visited the bordering areas of India in search of a male reptile. “We could not find the gharial in India. Then we were able to locate a male gharial under the bridge on Babai River in Bardiya National Park,” said Kandel. The gharial caught there was released into the CNP on Saturday morning.

A total of 70 gharials—50 in Babai River and 20 in Karnali River—were spotted two years ago. According to the CNP, the captured gharial is 35 years old and 416 centimetres long. It weighs about 800 kilograms. CNP officials said many gharials have flown to the Indian territory down Nepal’s rivers.

Bed Bahadur Khadka, chief of the Gharial Breeding Centre in Kasara, Chitwan, said the crocodiles could easily return to the Nepali territory in the past. “Nowadays, they cannot come back due to dams constructed on the rivers. Their movement has been affected also by heavy river currents,” he said.

Nepal began gharial conservation in 1976 by establishing a breeding centre in Kasara. There are nearly 500 female gharials in the breeding centre. A 2016 count put the gharial population in the CNP and the Bardiya National Park at 198. As many as 126 gharials were released into various rivers of the country at that time. The census also found that female gharials vastly outnumbered their male counterparts.

Published: 25-12-2017 07:35

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