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Gharial released in Nepal travels 1100 km and is rescued from nets in West Bengal

The gharial, an endangered species, was caught in fishing nets in the Hooghly near Rani Nagar Ghat in West Bengal recently.

New Delhi | Published: May 26, 2020 2:13:53 pm
animals transboundary migrations, gharial travels from nepal to india, animals travel long distance, nepal india news, viral news, gharial conservation, indian express It took around 60 days for the reptile to travel downstream from Nepal to India. (Source: WTI/ Twitter)

An endangered gharial that was released in Nepal travelled over 1000 km to India where it was rescued.

The gharial, an endangered species, was caught in fishing nets in the Hooghly near Rani Nagar Ghat in West Bengal recently. The rare reptile – of which there are only an estimated 650 adults – was released in the Rapti River, a tributary of the Gandak or Narayani, as it is known in Nepal. But a month later it surfaced in India, over 1100 km away.

According to Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), the reptile was identified due to its unique markings on its body.

The WTI website said that biologist Subrat Behera, who is working on the Gharial Recovery Project in the Gandak River came across photos of the animal on the internet, and contacted with his counterpart in Nepal to confirm the case.

Bed Bahadur Khadka, from the Gharial Conservation and Breeding Center in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park, recognised the tail scute markings and confirmed it had been released there.

“The possible route it took was Rapti- Narayani / Gandak – Ganga – Farakka – Hooghly River,” the website said, adding it took about 61 days for the animal to reach downstream area in Bengal. The reptile was released after being rescued.

Here’s how people reacted to it.

After images went viral, Prof BC Choudhary, an expert on crocodiles and Executive Trustee of WTI, said that the endangered species should be released in the winter months instead of summer and monsoon as “this allows them time to adapt to its natural habitat.”

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