Gange Gharial project updates
- 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 -
Last December, Mr. Lacoste accompanied by representatives from the The Explorers Foundation, Mr. Olivier Chiabodo and Dr. Antoine Cadi visited the gavial conservation program in Nepal.
The The Explorers Foundation/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 The Explorers Foundation/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.
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 The Explorers Foundation, 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.
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.
- 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.