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Gharials pose problem of plenty in Patna Zoo

The burgeoning population of gharials or "gavialis gangeticus" at the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park is giving a headache to the authorities who are planning to release them in rivers or shift the reptiles to other zoological parks in the country under an exchange programme or even for free.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Patna
UPDATED ON JUN 18, 2008 09:58 AM IST

What would have been a dream come true for conservationists has turned out to be a nightmare for the authorities of Patna Zoo.

The burgeoning population of gharials or "gavialis gangeticus" at the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park is giving a headache to the authorities who are planning to release them in rivers or shift the reptiles to other zoological parks in the country under an exchange programme or even for free.

"I have written to the chief warden of the Department of Forests and Environment to consider releasing the alligators in the Gandak river and his response is awaited," Director of the Park, Rakesh Kumar told PTI.

The obstacle that is apparently coming in the way of releasing the gharials, which fall in the "critically endangered" category under schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, is doubts about their ability to survive in the wild as they have been bred under the watchful eyes and tender care of zoo authorities.

There are around 125 gharials in the two enclosures having a capacity to accommodate only 45 and this includes several adults, Kumar said.

A full grown male alligator, distinguished by a bulbous growth on its snout, can grow up to 20 feet long and can easily crush the young ones.

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