Background

Action Sheet

  • Location :
    Teraï, Népal
  • Species status :
    Critically endangered according to IUCN
  • Period :
    Autumn 2009 - Autumn 2012

Sponsor

Field operator

The Ganges Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is one of the rarest crocodilians in the world (CSG, June 2006). Once commonly found in Pakistan, Burma, Nepal and India, it was decimated by the combined effects of intensive hunting, habitat destruction and competition with fishermen for its unique food resource, fish. In the mid-seventies, the gavial population was estimated at 300 individuals. At the brink of extinction, the species recovered through the different captive breeding and reintroduction programs that were carried out in India and Nepal. It is presently listed in Appendix 1 of CITES.

After the Gharial Multi Task Force meeting in France (Montélimar, 2006), the WWF Nepal concluded that the gharial had declined by 70% in the wild. Nowadays about twenty members of the Crocodiles Specialists Group alongside many specialists from all over the world are trying to underline this problem. Work on the reclassification of the gharial in the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) red list was conducted in May 2010.

The causes for the decline of gharial populations are numerous. In the past, gharials like most other crocodilians, experienced heavy poaching for their hides, flesh, and different body parts that were believed to have medicinal properties, or related to superstitious practices. But the establishment of the Chitwan National Park in 1970 and the posterior creation of  other  parks  and  reserves, fortunately reduced this pressure.  Today, the Terai  (southern border of Nepal) has two National Parks  (Chitwan and Bardia) and three reserves  (Koshi  Tappu, Parsa  and  Sukla  Panta).

The building of downstream dams across the Teräi have dramatically altered the dynamics of river streams upsetting the ecology of the species. These dams have also become insurmountable obstacles for breeding aquatic species (fish, crocodiles, dolphins, etc.). The amount of food available to predators has also been greatly diminished by the construction of factories  (production of beer  and  paper mills), which have discharged a considerable number of chemicals into the water. These substances had very negative effects on all aquatic wildlife, especially on the animals at the top of the food chain where the greatest amount of toxic substances accumulate.

Crop production also requires the use of pesticides. This further contributes to the deterioration of the water quality. Deforestation causes erosion, which in turn fills up the preferred gharial habitat consisting of the deeper river areas. There are presently too many fishermen and destructive fishing practices (including the use of long drift nets), which lead to the disappearance of fish from the rivers.

Although the Nepalese government set up the breeding center at Kasara in the late 70s, it was not until the late eighties that the first gharial population data were obtained. Population counts were performed between 1986 and 1994. In 2001, a new survey was carried out at Chitwan National Park. These censuses were the result of a collective study that was performed by French volunteers alongside rangers of the DNPWC. They showed that the gharial population in Nepal had not increased despite the release of more than 700 individuals released into the wild. These results express the urgent need for a detailed analysis of the situation and population reinforcement plan to increase gharial numbers.

Studies performed before 2001 show that :

  • The gharial populations in the rivers of national parks seems to remain fairly stable despite the annual release of individuals from the Kasara Center
  • It is in the rivers of Chitwan National Park that we can find the largest wild garhial populations (approximately 40 individuals).
  • The survival rate of young gharials reintroduced at Chitwan Park does not exceed 50% the first year and 20% the second year (we need to however be cautious with these figures as some individuals may have left the study area).
  • Some tribes like the Mosher Botha or the Bothé depend solely on fishing for their living, which in turns leads to the overexploitation of fish populations in rivers in Nepal. There are presently no protected areas where fishing activities have been banned. This has consequently led to the depletion of the fish food resources on which the gharials rely.
  • Most of the gharial population in Nepal  is mainly found at Kasara breeding center, which in  the longer term could lead to genetic impoverishment.
  • Following the information gathered since the start of WWF Nepal´s participation in the project, gharials appear to be present in three different study areas;

- Chitwan National Park, which encompasses the Rapti and Narayani Rivers : the study site has an extension of 112 km (on the Narayani : from Ratanpur to Amaltari where the river divides out into two tributaries and from Amaltari to Triveri ; on the Rapti from Sauhara to rejoin the Narayani River).

- Bardia Naitonal Park encompassing the Babaï and Karnali rivers.

- The Koshi Tappu reserve cncompassing the Koshi River

Field operator

Name structure:

WWF Nepal

Contact :

Mr. Anil MANANDHAR – WWF, the Global Organization

Missions:

To stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by:

  • conserving the world’s biological diversity
  • ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable
  • promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

Objectives

Contribute to the conservation of the remaining wild gharial populations in partnership with local communities and other groups involved in the sustainable management of the freshwater areas inhabited by the gharials.

The information gathered by the WWF shows that it is still possible to protect the gharial and its habitat. It is therefore necessary to:

  • To continue to increase the scientific knowledge on gharials and the habitat of the latter, which is to date very limited (Component 1)
  • To integrate favourable conservation measures for the gharials in the management of protected areas (Chitwan NP, Bardia NP, Koshi Tappu WR…) (Component 2)
  • To develop ex-situ conservation measures (breeding centres at Chitwan and Bardia) to increase gharial numbers in Nepal (Component 3)
  • To continue environmental awareness campaigns on the protection of their environment through gharial conservation (Component 4)
  • To contribute, in the international context of Gharial Multi Task Force, in the reinforcement of gharial conservation for world biodiversity (Component 5),
  • To establish an efficient and operative structure to coordinate this project (Component 6).

Actions

  1. To continue increasing the scientific knowledge on gharials
  2. To integrate favourable measures for gharial conservation in the management of protected areas
  3. To develop ex-situ conservation measures for the species
  4. To continue population awareness on environmental protection via the conservation of the gharial.
  5. To contribute, in the international context of Gharial Conservation Group (GCA), in reinforcing gharial conservation.

To continue increasing the scientific knowledge on gharials

Wild population survey

To optimize the gharial survey, a minimum of 2 watchers will participate in each of the sessions (each of them will watch one river bank and if there are 2 channels, they will be able to prospect each of the latter). Each watcher will have a kayak, binoculars (x10), GPS material and description cards. To ensure maximum success, each of the observations will have to be carried out during basking time, in winter. Favourable observation times would be from 10h to 16h during the cold season (November to February) and from 8h to 14h during the hot season (March to May). These times correspond to the period of high basking activity (Priol & al, 2003).

For each gharial observation, the description card will include :

  • Date and hour
  • River part prospected
  • Visibility of gharial
  • GPS localisation
  • Age class (and if it is possible sex)
  • Habitat components (kind of soil, river’s depth and width, habitat description of river bank, temperature…)

To get a better estimation of all of the data, each observation session will be repeated several times. There is the possibility that the gharials could potentially be disturbed by human activities and that they may consequently reduce their basking behaviour (the observation results would therefore be a sub-estimation of reality).

If possible, prospecting sessions will have to be carried out during short periods in order to minimise the weather or flood variations and particularly reduce the risk of gharials moving between the two different sessions.

Expected results:

  • Determine how much prospecting needs to be carried out in order to be able to observe the maximum number of garhials.
  • More precise information concerning the Nepalese gharial population,
  • Determination of the population type for each the prospected sites (young or adult, wild or released, sex-ratio…),
  • Determination of the gharial´s  favoured habitat. 

Released population survey

The prospecting activities carried out since 2004 (Ballouard & al, 2004, 2005) highlighted that the main risk for released gharials was for them to be removed prematurely from released sites. It is therefore necessary to continue the studies on the released sites. Moreover, it is urgent to develop other release programs in all park and reserve rivers in Terai (Chitwan and Bardia National Parks and Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve).

For that, we should study:

  • The quality and the availability of favourable habitats to determine what are the priority conservation areas
  • The river’s imminent threats: human disturbances, water quality, fish resource, and deterioration of favourable sites for gharials.

Expected results:

  • Determination of favourable periods and sites for gharial release,

To integrate favourable measures for gharial conservation in the management of protected areas

The gharial population in Nepal has not increased despite the more than 20 years and 691 gharials released. The Gangetic dolphin and otter populations also considerably decreased during this same period. All these species need specific habitats. Unfortunately due to human disturbance many of these have considerably decreased in size.

Local people catch fish, gharials´ main feeding resource. Fishermen are also sometimes found to be directly responsible for the death of gavials when using long fishing nets. The laying areas of the gharials decrease as a result of the latter and so does the reproductive potential.

Gharials are key species, and underline the “rivers´ health” (water quality, connection…). Garhial conservation therefore entails the protection of a number of other endangered species as well as that of the gharial habitat.

In order to protect the gharial´s habitat, WWF Nepal is working in close collaboration with the DNPWC. The organisation is going to develop a study on the water quality of the park´s rivers and determine the impact that the pollution has had on the aquatic flora and fauna (bioaccumulation). A study of the impact of human activities (fish, sand and tone excavation) will be carried out in some priority conservation sites and a compromise will have to be determined between human activities and river protection (national park and reserve rivers).

Rivers management study:

To obtain more information on the Terai Rivers, a structured approach has to be taken:

  • Bibliography study
  • Field visit with all partners to the different parks (DNPWC, Buffer Zone Community, WWF, NTNC…), to identify disturbances which are responsible of water quality loss (consequently favourable habitat loss),
  • Identify real case studies, which will permit to check bibliographic data
  • Proposition of management plans (for concrete actions) necessary to improve river quality and consequently the gharials´ habitat.

Our knowledge on rivers management is very poor, but with the experience and knowledge from the WWF Nepal study, we will be able to improve the latter.

Results running:

To maximize the running of results of these different studies and guarantee the soundness of the rivers management proposals, a workshop (with all of the conservation actors) will be organized, which will permit the validation of specific and directly applicable management plans for the Terai rivers (we have to underline that each river will be individually studied).

Seminars on the results will be presented to all partners in order to create a final management plan.

Expected Results:

  • Improve water quality,
  • Increase in fish stock,
  • Improve of river connections,
  • Decrease fishing accidents (gharial or other protected species capture),
  • Decrease the use of long nets fish.

To develop ex-situ conservation measures for the species

Increase in breeding capacity at Kasara breeding centre (Chitwan National Park)

Built in 1978, the Kasara breeding centre has considerably grown. In the one hand, at the informative level: in 2001, the visitor centre was created and many information panels were installed in the centre to explain the breeding conditions. In the other hand, at the technical level: in 2006 a new nursery was built to increase young gharial breeding capacity.

The Kasara breeding centre may be viewed as a referent of gharial conservation. The increase in birth data confirmed the success of the breeding center at Kasara. Nevertheless, this success will have to be confirmed by the construction of new breeding facilities.

Pisciculture :

Built in 1978, the Kasara breeding centre has since considerably grown. On the one hand, from an information standpoint: in 2001, the visitor centre was created and many panels were put up to inform the general public about the breeding facilities at the centre. On the other hand, from a technical standpoint: in 2006 a new nursery was built to increase young gharial breeding capacity.

It is possible to show that the Kasara breeding centre has been a successful initiative in gharial conservation, which is justified by the increase in birth data.

Typical breed:

Before being released, gharials have to reach minimum size and weight to ensure that they will be able to survive in the wild. Young gharials therefore stay 5 years in the breeding centre’s pools:

  • March year N: egg laying time,
  • June year N: hatchling time,
  • June N to June N+1: nursery breed,
  • June N+1 to June N+2: post-nursery breed,
  • June N+2 to February/March N+5: growth breed,
  • February/March N+5: releasing time (size superior to 1.7m).

Fishing farm

To increase in gharial number and reduce the fishing pressure in river, a fishing farm has to be built. This will enable the feeding live fish for the gharials thereby keeping the gharial´s hunters instincts alive.

This farm will encompass two types of pools: reproductive pools to breed small fish (to feed the young gharials) and growth pools to get larger fish (to feed the adults and sub-adults). All of the latter will provide the gharials with quality food in sufficient quantity.

The construction of a fishing farm is a low cost sustainable project. The fish will inturn be fed with organic garbage (like rice bran).

After discussions with Mr Kamal Jung Kunwar (Chief Warden of Chitwan National Park), it may be possible to build the fishing farm close to the gharial breeding centre. However in order to enable the construction of the fish farm, fences will have to be installed to prevent fish from escaping in the event of a big monsoon. The fish will be managed by the national park´s staff.

Expected results:

  • Increase in food quality and quantity,
  • Teach young gharials how to hunt
  • Increase the survival rate of the animals at the breeding centre
  • Create a  sustainable alternative for river fishing.

Yearling pools

To increase the number of young gharials, new yearling pools will have to be created. Young gharials are usually released after five years at the breeding pools, time after which they would have developed the right structures and size to be able to survive on their own in the wild.

All these new structures are very important but the existing structures must be looked after: pipe problems (faucet leak, pipe blocking…), fence problems (rotten beam, rusted wire fence…).

It is also advisable to reforest the area in order to increase the amount of shade in the enclosures as well as to improve the overall look of the latter. At present there are many dead trees in the area and therefore these could be felled and new ones replanted.

Expected results :

  • Avoid gharial overpopulation problems in the pools
  • Increase breeding centre survival rate,
  • Permit fastest growth during the first 5 years
  • Optimize breeding centre capacity,
  • Decrease the stress of individual gharials
  • Increase visitor number,
  • Continue to make Kasara breeding centre as the world example of gharial conservation 

Creation of a new breeding centre at Bardia National Park

The preservation and development of the gharial captive bank is very important for the conservation of the species. In this way, it is important to protect this bank from epizooties and other epidemic diseases, which could decimate all efforts that have been made in the last few years regarding gharial conservation. In order to avoid this problem, the creation of a breeding center like the one at Kasara will be the best solution.

New breeding centre construction

At Bardia National Park, there is another breeding centre. It is however less important than the one at Kasara. The Bardia center breeds especially Marsh muggers (second crocodile species that present in Nepal). After having visited the breeding center, considerable problems were noted in the pipe system and wire fences. It would therefore be wise to build a new center. Close to the existing centre is a field where the new breeding facilities could be built. This new centre is going to have to include breeding pools for reproductive gharials, a nursery for babies, post nursery pools for young gharials (1 year old), yearling pools for sub-adults and a fish farm.

Expected results:

  • Create a second breeding pool as productive as the one at Chitwan
  • Avoid the death of breed specimens in case of disease.
  • Survey of breeding gharials

    The objective of the Kasara breeding centre is to breed gharials during 5 years to enable them to be released in the best conditions

    For this reason, it will be very important to make regular check-ups of the captive gharials:

    • A growth check (size, weight, survival rate…)
    • A sanitary check, especially for young gharials (veterinary control each month).

    To increase the genetic turnover during release, genetic analyses will have to be carried out of the released juveniles.

    Expected results:

    • Improve the scientific knowledge of captive gharials,
    • Optimize gharial selection for release events.

    To continue population awareness on environmental protection via the conservation of the gharial.

    Through its visitor tourist information office, Kasara Breeding Centre has become one of the most important places of gharial conservation awareness in the world.

    Ranger training in gharial conservation

    The support of the Buffer Zone Community is necessary for the conservation of the gharial. Alongside the National Park officers, the rangers manage river banks and neighboring areas (for buffer zone part). It is therefore essential the establishment of rules concerning gharial habitat protection, which will benefit both the local people and the gharials.

    Expected results:

    • Establishment of measures to protect the gharial,
    • Ranger support for ex-situ construction projects.

    Buffer Zone Community participation on local people awareness

    The support from the Buffer Zone Community is also necessary. The National Parks officers, manage the river banks and neighboring (for buffer zone part). It is therefore essential the establishment of rules concerning gharial habitat protection, which will benefit both the local people and the gharials..

    Expected results:

    • Establishment of measures to protect the gharial,
    • Community support for ex-situ construction projects. 

    Local population involvement

    Children:

    Promoting the protection of rivers and aquatic species with the support from children. Collaboration will be seeked with some schools and orphanages located near the breeding center. The following activities are planned;

    • Breeding centre tour,
    • Presentations in schools or orphanages on gharial conservation but also rivers protection (short movie, pedagogic documents…)
    • Exhibitions with drawings, paintings, poetry etc. in the visitor centre but also in hotels and village meeting places,
    • Performances on day to day activities which are harmful to freshwater protection (fishing with long net, put garbage on river…).

    To increase the participation of children, using events will be an advantage: The “Cait da saï” festival dedicated to Durga (end of March for 15 days) brings together hundreds Nepalese in breeding centre, the wildlife week (mid-April) and gharial released sessions. Involving children in these activities could increase the awareness on the importance of gharial conservation.


    Expected results:

    • Develop the awareness on gharial conservation and make it sustainable.

    Fishermen:

    Bote and Musher, local ethnic group depend on the park´s rivers. They work everyday on the river banks and fish on their boats, They therefore have good knowledge of these rivers. The gharial conservation project has to make use of this knowledge and create an alert network. Thus should gharials be found in precarious situations, the rangers will be able to quickly intervene. The fishermen have to be able to contact the national park officers quickly.

    Moreover, the national park officers will have to work alongside the fishermen to localise the nests of the crocodiles. This network will have to be developed in order to maximize the number of eggs collected.

    Expected results:

    • Create an alert network,
    • Create an egg collection protocol 

    Involvement of the tourism sector

    Guide associations:

    Other wildlife conservation workers can provide some help to this project, as are the National Park Guide Association members, who are in constant contact with the local fauna and flora. Like the rangers, they just need some knowledge on gharial biology and prospecting techniques.

    These  people can contribute to the gharial conservation work directly by prospecting the different areas or indirectly by making an observation list made during tourist “safari” outings. Moreover, they could be the link between the WWF and the local people (like fishermen) in bringing feedback information to the project.

    Expected Results :

    • Increase data and consequently knowledge on wild and released gharials
    • Regular update of gharial status in park rivers.

    Hotels:

    Hotels could launch international awareness campaigns by presenting the children’s creations as well as through their own organized activities. Hotel guides will be capacitated along with the association members to be able to organize kayak safari trips to discover the gharial and its habitat.

    Expected results:

    • Increase data and consequently the knowledge on wild and released gharials,
    • Increase the protection of the most threatened crocodile in the world.

    To contribute, in the international context of Gharial Conservation Group (GCA), in reinforcing gharial conservation.

    GCA collaboration

    After the Gharial Conservation Group meeting in France (Montélimar, 2006), it was concluded that the gharial population had decreased by 70% in the wild. Nowadays about twenty members of the Crocodiles Specialists Group with many specialists of the world are trying to underline this problem. Their work on the reclassification of gharial on the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) red list has lead to the reclassification of the gharial as “Critically Endangered” in May 2010.

    For the above, experts from the different shared their knowledge on the species and their habitat with others. It is therefore important to have a significant referent for gharial conservation in Nepal. With technical and scientific knowledge from this project, it will be possible to make people more aware of the gharials ant their conservation.

    At present, the species´ range is limited to mostly Nepal and India. Nepal therefore needs to be one of the key players in gharial conservation.

    Expected results:

    • Increase in the involvement of the Nepalese with regards to gharial conservation.
    • For Nepal to become a referent in gharial conservation. 

    “Regional” coordination

    Collaboration between Nepal and India is necessary for gharial conservation. This cooperation will permit a common steady and legal protection to be carried out along the dam of the Indian border.

    In India, the CSG has kept asked the Nepalese government to give its support to the conservation of gharials by establishing the egg-laying centers and supporting population awareness campaigns. Nepal has got around 400 wild and captive gharials, which makes up a quarter of world´s gharial population. Waiting for financial support from India might be important to extend the project past the Nepalese borders.

    Moreover, some genetic problems may be encountered: some breeding centres have had the same animals for more than 20 years. With Nepal, India is the only other country, who has a breeding centre. The objective would therefore to establish a gharial specimen exchange program so that the genetic diversity of the species could be maintained and the survival probability of the latter increased.

    Expected Results:

    • Enable a common program for gharial protection,
    • Establish a gharial exchange program.

    News

    - In January, 2013 -

    Gharials recued by river rangers in Nepal

    Two adult Gharials have been rescued and transferred to the Narayani river by the river rangers, in October 2012. At the end of the monsoon season, both individuals had been trapped in small river branches when the water level went down. A group of villagers had reported their presence to rangers: a concrete proof of the education program success.

    Gharial © WWF Nepal

    - In December, 2011 -

    Inauguration ceremony of new Gavial breeding pool in Nepal

    Last December, Mr. Lacoste accompanied by representatives from the FDB, Mr. Olivier Chiabodo and Dr. Antoine Cadi visited the gavial conservation program in Nepal.

    The FDB/Lacoste team was heartily welcomed by the park staff at Chitwan National Park. The event began by a presentation given by the Chitwan NP´s warden, and several speeches given by different people who expressed their views on the subject of gharial conservation in Nepal. The two new breeding pools at Kasara were then inaugurated by Mr. Michel Lacoste and Mr. Fanindra Raj Kharel, Chief Planning Officer from Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation.

    Mr. Lacoste also gave a speech on his overall impression of the gharial project in Nepal and expressed how happy he felt to be a part of this program. He also thanked everyone, especially WWF Nepal for successfully guiding the project in the right direction.

    Following the inauguration event, the FDB/Lacoste delegation released two adult males and a couple of females into the new breeding pool, and visited the proposed sites for the fish farm and lab at Kasara Breeding Center.


    - In November, 2011 -

    River Rangers training in Chitwan

    With the objective of ensuring the regular monitoring of the Gharial populations in the Rapti and Narayani rivers, the “River Rangers Training” course was held at both Sauraha and Amaltari late September. The 50 participants were taught skills on GPS use, Gharial and Mugger crocodile differentiation techniques, river patrol and data collection.

    Preparation of Gharial Conservation Action Plan

    The proposals for the development of the gharial conservation action plan were evaluated and the organization that submitted the best proposal has been chosen to develop the action plan. The organization Fortune Infosys won the contract. The consultancy agreement was signed on 20th September, 2011 and work on the Gharial Action Plan will continue strictly in accordance with the terms of reference. The final version of the document is to be ready by June 2012.


    - In August, 2011 –

    Government endorses the Gharial monitoring results in Nepal

    On July 8, 2011, Dr. Maheswor Dhakal, Director General of DNPWC (Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation), presented in detail to the highest authorities of the Government of Nepal, the gharial conservation program, whose current population stands at 102 individuals. After the presentation, the authorities thanked and paid tribute to the FDB, Lacoste and WWF Nepal for their excellent work and support in favor of the species´ conservation.


    The gharial breeding pool construction at Kasara is almost ready!

    The construction works of the gharial breeding pool at Kasara are still ongoing, even if heavy rains have put the work progress on standby for several days. The work has been put on standby for a few days due to the heavy rainfall. WWF Nepal plans to complete the construction project within two months.


    -In July, 2011-

    Establishing a monitoring system in captivity

    There is a total of 14 nests in captivity this year. The WWF Nepal research team plans to monitor the temperature of nests using the data loggers and separate the hatchlings based on their body temperature. The research team´s objective will be to see whether temperature is important in determining the sex of gharials, which is still a mystery. Each of the hatchlings will then be weighed and measured every month in order to observe their growth trends.

    On another note, A lot of progress has been made with breeding pool construction. Cementing work will soon be carried out followed by proper fencing and partition.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    -In June, 2011-

    Gharial Population Update (2011)

    The WWF Nepal researchers have finally compiled the total population data of the gharial in Nepal. The highest numbers of gharials were counted in the Rapti, Narayani, Babai and Karnali rivers with, respectively, 33, 48, 17 and 4 individuals, making a total of 102 gharials in Nepal. However, the investment of even greater effort will be needed if the progress observed is to continue, and in particular to reach in the years to come the size of population required to ensure the viability of the gharial.


    -In May, 2011-

    Consultative Meeting on Gharial Workshop

    On February 14th 2011, a final consultative workshop was organized in Sauraha by Terai Arc Landscape project.
    Major stakeholders participated in this programme such as park authorities, buffer zone user committees, community forest user groups, fishing communities, locals, hoteliers as well as NGOs based in Chitwan. Several important decisions regarding the Gharial Conservation Action Plan which focuses mainly on river protection, pollution control, solid waste management, gharial conservation education and sustainable livelihoods. The creation of a gharial and river conservation committee will be responsible alongside the park rangers of the monitoring and improving of the gharials´ habitat. Finally all of the participants agreed that it was imperative to determine potential gharial reintroduction. These sites will be declared “Gharial Sanctuaries”.


    -In March, 2011-

    Gharial monitoring in Nepal continues in the Rapti River.

    The WWF Nepal research team sighted 4 sub-adult gharials and 9 mugger crocodiles in the Rapti River between Baghmara and Jarneli. It is a very positive sign of them reclaiming their natural habitat. While last year the research team from the WWF had noted the erosion of the nesting areas,

    they found on this year’s expedition that there were two other sandbanks, which could be used as potential nesting sites for the species.


    Gharial research and monitoring continue at Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park and at the Koshitappu Wildlife Reserve. The results will be forwarded to the GharialConservation Alliance in order to update the Gharial’s status.


    – In December, 2010-

    Gharial outreach programs in Nepal

    Following the success of the activities conducted over the last few months, similar initiatives were carried out to reach out to many other communities in the Chitwan region. Conservation programmes have also been carried out in the regions of Pragatinagar, Divyapuri and Rajahar. 34 women and 69 men from the Bote, Majhi, Mushar and other communities. A number of important conservation iss

    ues were discussed as well as the future challenges to gharial conservation.

    D


    - In November, 2010-

    The Gharial Conservation Awareness Program in Nepal is progressing well.

    The Gharial conservation awareness programme was carried out in and around the Narayani River and the buffer zone at Chitwan National Park. WWF Nepal´s conservation education officers from the WWF’s Terai Arc Landscape program, enabled the success of this initiative. They placed considerable importance on gharial conservation, the challenges faced by this species and on the role of the local people in saving the threatened species. This program was held over a period of four days between the 26th and 29th of October, 2010 in four different areas namely Laugain, Bramhasthan, Bote Sibir and Baghkhor. The total number of participants was of 256 comprising of both men and women from the Bote, Majhi and Mushar communities.


    - In October, 2010

    Consultative Interaction Workshop on Gharial Conservation

    A consultative interaction workshop on Gharial Conservation was organized at Chitwan on 15th September, 2010. In the workshop many influential people from the Bote, Majhi, Mushar (fishing community) and their respective organization like Bote Majhi Mushar Welfare Committee, Crocodile and Turtle Conservation Committee and Buffer Zone user committees attended. During the workshops participants expressed their great concern towards the serious situation faced by gharials. The discussions were very informative in a way that the participants themselves realized the threats and even came up with solutions to the problem, which was in fact very appreciative. The workshop was hosted by “Terai Arc Landscape”, which is the joint project of WWF Nepal and the Nepalese government.

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