The Terai Arc Landscape Project (TAL) - Gharial Breeding Centre



Rescuing the endangered crocodile

The endangered gharial crocodile is receiving much-needed assistance by a breeding programme in Chitwan National Park. As in similar projects that are carried out in India, gharial eggs are searched in riverbanks, where gharial mothers have hidden them, and brought to the centre for incubating safely in captivity, in order to increase the population of this rare crocodile.

 / ©: WWF Nepal
Gharials remain in the pools of the centre until they reach the age of about 4 years after which they are released into the wild.
© WWF Nepal

In the centre, the eggs are kept under heating lamps to maintain an appropriate temperature. After about 3 months, the baby gharials break their leathery eggshells to start a new life. They remain in the pools of the centre until they reach the age of about 4 years after which they are released into the wild.

Local communities that protect gharials
One place that has been the site of release of ten gharials recently is the Kumrose community forest, an area outside Chitwan National Park. Before releasing the gharials, park authorities got assurances of safety of these animals from the community.

On the day of the release, a big festive occasion was held for local people, with speeches and songs on conservation, after which a crowd of about 200 locals gathered on the riverbanks to follow the release of the 10 young gharials.