‘Gandak now second largest gharial population in country’

Published on Jul 03, 2022 10:46 PM IST
As many as 148 gharials have been released in the Gandak thereby turning the river having the second-largest gharial population after the Chambal river in the country, officials said.
A gharial on Chambal river. The Gandak river has been identified as a nesting habitat of the critically endangered gharials for the first time in 2016. (HT Archives)
A gharial on Chambal river. The Gandak river has been identified as a nesting habitat of the critically endangered gharials for the first time in 2016. (HT Archives)

BETTIAH: In a joint effort by the Wildlife Trust of India and the Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, as many as 148 gharials have been released in the Gandak thereby turning the river having the second-largest gharial population after the Chambal river in the country, officials said.

Subrat Kumar Behera, Project Head, Gandak Gharial Recovery Project, Wildlife Trust of India on Saturday claimed that the number of species in the Gandak river has gone up manifold now.

“Yes, the Gandak has now become the second-largest river having a gharial population after Chambal. The gharials were released at two locations, namely Dhanaiya Reta and Nidhiharahwa near Valmikinagar in Bagaha subdivision of Bihar’s West Champaran district,” he said.

According to Dr Neshmani K, VTR’s wildlife conservator and field director, the gharials were released in the river in the middle of June this year. However, other official sources said it was made public only after official verification from other concerned departments.

The Gandak river has been identified as a nesting habitat of the critically endangered gharials for the first time in 2016. Since 2018, gharial nesting has been consistently observed in the river in every nesting year and the river has become an important gharial population with breeding records. “While 259 gharials were found in 2020, their number stood at 236 in 2021,” said Project Head, Gandak Gharial Recovery Project, Wildlife Trust of India.

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