Two species of the family Crocodylidae are found in Nepal: The marsh Mugger, Crocodylus palustris, and the freshwater Gharial, Gavialis gangeticus. The gharial has a long and extremely slender-snout. The adult male gharial with a skull length exceeding 60cm develops a large cartilaginous protuberance on the end of its snout which is resembles to a clay pot called ghara in Northern India. Thus, among all the crocodilian species, the gharial is the only one who exhibits sexual dimorphism (Maskey and Schleich, 2002). It is listed as endangered in National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973 of Nepal and on Appendix I of CITES. Gharials are specialised fish-eaters. At present, the population are distributed in isolated remnant areas in the Karnali, Babai, Narayani and Sapta Kosi river systems of Nepal. All habitat areas are located inside or adjacent to protected areas. The population of Gharial in the Sapta Kosi River is very low numbering about 10. According to an estimate by Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation the gharial numbers in wild (about 80-120) and captivity (about 200).
Since 1981, the “Gharial Conservation Project” was initiated in Royal Chitwan National Park, Kasara to ensure the long term crocodile conservation in Nepal. Till now more than 500 gharials have been released in Karnali, Babai, Narayani and Koshi rivers to sustain their population in its former habitats. In order to achieve efficient management and long term survival of this endangered species, a solid knowledge on the biological and ecological requirements is needed. For the long term conservation of this species, a monitoring program has been designed in collaboration with the Ferme aux Crocodiles, Pierrelatté (France), the CEPA (Conservation des Espèces et des Populations Animales) and Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Nepal. To achieve this objective we released ten new gharials in Chitwan with radio-telemetry since March 2002.
1. Documentation of herpetofauna of Nepal
2. Cooperation with different stakes of society to disseminate information regarding the status and immediate needs for the conservation of herpetofauna and their habitats
3. Turtle conservation works in low lands of Nepal
CARON published turtle conservation leaflets and poster in partnership with other stakeholders.
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