CHITWAN: Last fiscal year, nine gharial crocodiles had died after being caught in fishing nets cast by fisher people in the Narayani and Rapti rivers. This has posed a further challenge in the conservation of this semi-aquatic reptile.
Chitwan National Park (CPN)’s chief conservation officer Bed Kumar Dhakal said others 12 crocodiles were rescued alive trapped in fishing nets during the same period. This is an alarming call to the park itself and wildlife conservationists.
During the previous fiscal year, a male crocodile had died after getting trapped in the fishing net.
The incidences of preventable death of this endangered animal increased significantly last fiscal year.
A fishing net with holes as large as that of a volleyball net is used for illegal fishing. Use of nets has been prohibited.
The use of such net is a grave threat to the baby crocodile and other marine life as well. The net is left abandoned if it is caught by crocodile which will end in the tragic death of the animal as it gets caught up in the net leading to suffocation, depriving it from food and proper movement, said CNP assistant conservation officer Bed Bahadur Khadka.
According to Khadka, it is believed that crocodile originated in the before the human being in terms of evolution. Though the CNP has granted the fishing license with the use of handy net to around 100 people dependent on the park, the illegal fishing continues to take life of the animal.
The two rivers have hardly three male crocodiles as the number of males is naturally limited in this species due to an uneven birth ratio. The crocodile breeding centre here has so far released 1,465 adult gharials since 1981 to several rivers in the country and of them, 785 were released to the Rapti River.
The centre was established in 1978 with the realization of needs for its conservation efforts. So far, 399 adult crocodiles have been released in Narayani, 35 in Kaligandaki, 95 in Saptakoshi, 41 in Karnali and 110 in Babahi.
Increasing water pollution has pushed the animal to a vulnerable situation. The center has present 467 adult crocodiles expect kids.
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