Status and conservation of crocodiles in the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, eastern Nepal

R.K. Goit, K. Basnet


Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is an area of 175km2 on the alluvial flood plains of the Koshi River in eastern Nepal. Surveys of crocodiles in the Koshi River and its surrounding areas in the reserve were conducted in winter and spring 2008 using direct observation and questionnaires besides literature reviews. Observations were done during the day using binoculars and photo shoots and sites were visited by boat, bicycle and also on foot. Although both Gavialis gangeticus and Crocodylus palustris were previously found in the reserve, only C. palustris was found in this study. The numbers of C. palustris were higher in the winter season - early January (21) than in the spring - mid March (5). The destruction and degradation of crocodiles in the reserve has been caused by various human activities such as wood collection, cattle grazing, fishing, as well as by some natural processes. The success of conservation programs depends upon awareness creation and the development of a positive attitude in the local people towards the species. During this study, most of the respondents from the local community as well as the Reserve staff were positive towards the conservation of C. palustris. This is important as it has its own role in the ecosystem. Continuous release and trans-boundary conservation efforts should be initiated for the protection of G. gangeticus.

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