Kolkata: Gandak river in Bihar has established itself as the third breeding ground in the country for the critically-endangered gharials after the birth of 7-8 baby crocodiles near Valmiki Tiger Reserve on World Environment Day.
As part of a Gharial conservation programme of the Bihar forest department and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), a team of experts have been releasing captive-bred gharials in the wild and into river Gandak after which breeding in the wild began.
"This is the first record of wild bred gharials in the river. Decades ago there used to be a good number of gharials but gradually the number depleted. Now breeding has once again begun," Samir Kumar Sinha, head of the Gharial conservation project told PTI from Patna.
He said they noticed six nests at a stretch of about 700 meters in April after which they formed a team to monitor it 24/7 along with two local villagers so that predators like jackals and raptors did not feed on the eggs.
"We are happy that on June 5 when we were celebrating the World Environment Day, 7-8 hatchlings came out from the eggs along the banks of the river after 59 days," he said.
Renowned expert on crocodiles Dr B C Choudhury said this is the third breeding population of Gharials, endemic to the Indian sub-continent, in the country after Chambal and Girwa rivers.