Nepal | July 08, 2020

CNP officials face challenge with death of only male gharial


Himalayan News Service
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Gharial crocodiles, Chitwan National Park

Endangered species of gharial crocodiles lie in the Crocodile Breeding Centre of Chitwan National Park at Kasara, Chitwan. in the pool of the Centre. Photo: Tilak Ram Rimal/File

Chitwan, June 20

The death of the only male gharial in Chitwan National Park in the last week of May, has put park officials in a difficult position to conserve the gharial.

There are now no other male gharials for breeding, after the single alpha died.

The only male gharial died after falling into a net in the Narayani River at Nandapur of Nawalparasi.

Park officials are looking for a male gharial to ensure protection of the species after the incident.

Assistant Conservation Officer Bed Bahadur Khadka of the national park said they were looking for a male gharial for natural breeding of the species in the Narayani and Rapti rivers. “We have to manage at least one male crocodile from elsewhere, be it Nepal or India,” said Khadka, adding, “Though it is speculated that there are three males of this species in the Babai River, it is yet to be confirmed.”

As per the 2016 census, there were 198 gharials in different rivers across Nepal. Of them, as many as 166 crocodiles were said to be in the Narayani and Rapti rivers.

According to Khadka, the gender of crocodile can be identified only after the age of 15 to 20. There is a male crocodile at the breeding centre in Kasara among around 500 crocodiles present there. The eggs of the species are collected from the Rapti and Narayani rivers and hatched at the breeding centre. The female crocodiles move around looking for male partners during mating season.

There were around 25 female gharials of reproductive age in the Rapti and Narayani rivers and the same male crocodile was contributing to the breeding since 2010.

A version of this article appears in print on June 21, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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