Ghariyal journeys 1,062 km to Hoogli


Chitwan, May 25

A gharial released in a river in Nepal has travelled over a thousand kilometres in the past two months. It was found in a river in India.

According to Chitwan National Park Assistant Conservation Officer Bed Bahadur Khadka, a gharial with tagged number 687, which was released in the Rapti River from Kasara on March 17 was found in Chakada in the Hoogli River near Kolkata of India on May 17.

Fisherman, on the Hoogli River, had caught the crocodile, which was identified with the help of a tag fixed on its tail.

The reptile, 2.6 metres in length and weighing up to 26 kg at the time of release, was hatched six years ago, said Khadka. Though 10 other crocodiles are also said to be from the same area, we don’t have any official information about that.

“We identified the one found with the help of pictures and the identification number sent to us from Indian conservationists,” Khadka explained.

“It’s not surprising that wildlife doesn’t regard political and geographical boundaries and criss-cross between countries. The only point is wherever they are, in this context, the gharials must be protected as they are assets of the whole world,” Khadka argued.

This endangered species of gharials are found in the Rapti, Narayani, Saptakoshi, Babai and Kaligandaki rivers in Nepal and the Ganga and a few other rivers in India. In Nepal, eggs are collected from riverside gharial nests every year and they are hatched in the national park’s Kasara-based breeding centre.

Once they hatch and are suitably grown-up they are released in different rivers. So far, some 835 gharial crocodiles have been released in the Rapti River alone.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 26, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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