Two species of the family Crocodylidae are found in Nepal: The marsh Mugger, Crocodylus palustris, and the freshwater Gharial, Gavialis gangeticus Gmelin, 1789. The gharial has a large extremely slender-snout. Adult male has a conspicious narial excrescence commonly called ghara. It is listed as endangered Protected animal in the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973 of Nepal and on Appendix I of CITES. Gharials are specialised fish-eaters. At present, individuals are distributed in isolated remnant populations in the Karnali, Babai, Narayani and Sapta Kosi river systems. Just recently a new population of more than 20 animals is re-established in the Rapti River of Nepal. All of them are in or adjacent to protected areas. The population of Gharial in the Sapta Kosi River is very low.
Since 1981, the “Gharial Conservation Project” at Kasara in Royal Chitwan National Park began a program for crocodile conservation. More than 500 gharials have been released since then. However, captive breeding at the Gharial Conservation Project is successful but survival of the released animals is very low. The recent observation of the gharial in the Narayani and Rapti rivers indicated that the population of the adult gharial is declining but it is compensated by the regular release of the captive reared animals though the survival is very low. In order to manage this animal efficiently, a program was launched by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, in collaboration with the La Ferme aux Crocodiles (Pierrelatte, France) and WWF Nepal Program. The programs include the construction of scientifically improved hatchling pools and regular monitoring of the released gharials in the Narayani River.
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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