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.
You may be under #lockdown but this #gharial travelled 1100km from #Nepal to Hooghly! Read more here: https://t.co/JDHETRRhhv #CriticallyEndangered #savingspecies@vivek4wild @LAZoo pic.twitter.com/rdbHntRShM
— Wildlife Trust India (@wti_org_india) May 25, 2020
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.
— Babu Ram (@1baburam) May 25, 2020
Gharial n 1100 km… Seriously. Wow https://t.co/DPVHKOk0K2
— finding__nimo (@nikhilzoology) May 26, 2020
— Sujita Dhakal (@ForesterSujita) May 25, 2020
Reclaiming the world which is rightfully theirs
— League Of Green Warriors (@LeagueOfGreenW1) May 25, 2020
Journeys taken by animals in these times are what brings more clarity of how these rivers are critical for the wildlife
— Roam_Home_Safe_Locked (@singh_sonu) May 25, 2020
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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