|Town/Region||Chitwan National Park|
|Date||18 Feb 2009|
Among 23 species of Crocodilian, only two species are found in Nepal, the Gharial Gavialis gangeticus and the Mugger Crocodylus palustris. Gharial breeding centre was established in 1978 at Kasara inside the Chitwan National Park; and over the interim years, the Gharial and Mugger crocodiles have been bred in captivity and released in the surrounding rivers. Despite successful captive breeding and release of crocodile, there have been limited attempts to educate people on values of maintaining riverine habitat and the important link crocodiles play in healthy wetland ecosystems. Intensive fishing has reduced food levels and fishermen view them as competitor. They become entangled in nets and are either drowned or killed. Subsequently, perception of tribal people about medicinal values of crocodile led to egg collection and slaughter of crocodiles remain continued. Habitat degradation along floodplain and river banks due to intensive agricultural practices led to further depletion of habitat required to sustain viable crocodile populations in Nepal.
On this situation, an effort was made to educate and aware the students and local people on the importance of conservation of crocodile through Crocodile Conservation Awareness Project (CCAP), the first RSG project. Students of ten different schools are organized in conservation through formation of Crocodile Conservation Club (CCC). But, there are very limited educational (reading) materials on the issues of crocodile conservation; the clubs are also too young to run independently and their institutional strengthening is essential. This project aims to expand and strengthen initiatives of CCAP for sustainable crocodile conservation in Chitwan national park, Nepal.
Besides renewal or reformation of existing CCCs, the clubs will be formed in five more schools and a guide teacher will be involved in each CCC. Review meeting/workshop in participation with park staff, teacher, CBO members and other stakeholders has been planed to explore the sustainability of CCCs. Club members as well as the students will be mobilized in different classroom and field based awareness raising activities. Booklet and brochure containing the information of the species will be published and disseminated, stock of pamphlet and conservation copy published during first RSG project will be distributed. Publication of Wall magazine will be continued. Wall calendar an important tool to create awareness among the local community will be published and distributed. Website (www.crocodilenepal.org) will be regularly updated to globally disseminate the issues and draw the attention of national/international conservationists/organizations to work on those issues.
To read about Bishnu's previous project https://www.rufford.org/rsg/projects/bishnu_hari_wagle or for further information contact: