Gator Tales

After the 2007 IUCN Red Listing of the Gharial, my surveys in 2008 led to the discovery that the Corbett Tiger Reserve was home to 42 adult gharial which consisted of 10 adult males.

With the initiation of the Crocodilian and Freshwater Turtle Research and Conservation Project in 2010 with Dr. Alison Leslie as the Scientific Advisor, we refined our survey techniques to include boat surveys along the shorelines, stationary counts, camera trapping and photo documentation to estimate the number of crocodiles in Corbett Tiger Reserve specially the National Park areas.

Camera trapping in action
Our data is analysed using three independent census methods and we estimate the number of crocodiles in Corbett National Park by averaging our figures from each of these three censuses.

Photo-documentation of an adult male gharial in Corbett

Annual reports and our published research papers are being submitted to The Uttarakhand Forest Department and the Corbett Tiger Reserve so that they have our results and recommendations at the tips of their fingers.

Our study area in Corbett National Park is today home to about 145 crocodiles of which there are about 80 adult gharial which include adult males and while the remaining are mugger crocodiles. 

Mugger crocodiles in Corbett which are an important species of it's aquatic habitat
While gharial have nested and hatched in large numbers in Boksar in the core area of the National Park where earlier  most nests were predated by monitor lizards, evidence on successful nesting by the presence of yearlings was also observed in the Dhikala marshes.

Gharial hatchlings in Corbett confirming successful breeding of the species.
 While the waterways of Corbett sport a variety of shorelines many areas are wooded with wonderful forests and steep mountainsides through which we navigate with our Porta -Bote, fitted with a 9-10hp electric engine increasing our commitment to use Green Technology in our surveys and also ensuring that our field surveys have a low-carbon footprint.

The waterways of Corbett can be haunting

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