The Miracle Clutch: Part Four

By the 27th of June, oozing and vigorous movement from two eggs were of them being the egg without a part of its egg shell....observing these eggs for several hours I took a decision to assist the hatching....however, these two gharial hatchlings were premature and were not to survive..... 

Oozing from the two eggs which also showed vigourous movement.......!!!!
We maintained the temperature of the incubator for many days but with fuelwood running low and excessive bad weather I decided to trek through the forests and access the road head that led to a small town called Kotdwar to procure coal for our incubation. Accompanied by one of the forest staff, I set out through the forests on the 2nd of July with dark clouds looming above and a slight drizzle. The Palain had to be crossed thrice on foot and with the river in spate this was a superhuman task. 

Reaching Kotdwar late at night and grabbing some sleep in a neat hotel, I hit the bazaar, early the next morning and procured about 100 kilos of coal......Returning to Halduparao with two sack loads of coal carried by an able bodied Nepali by the name of Kam Bahadur and other forest staff, I eagerly set about starting the fires in our bhattis going....and the temperature of the incubator slowly rose to 35 degree celsius after having dropped to 29 degrees celcius for the past couple of days.... 

Persistance was to pay off and on the 7th of July, 2008 at around 9:20 in the morning....Corbett's first gharial hatchling from artificial incubation was born....with tears in our eyes the forest staff and myself congratulated each other.....more good news was to follow....over the next few days more eggs were to hatch....two hatchlings on the 8th, two on the 9th and one more on the 10th....six baby gharials were born in was indeed a momentous occassion! 

Gharial babies in the process of hatching while we watched.......!!!!!!!

Five of the babies were to survive for realease and after a number of surveys of the Palain we decided to release the babies at a deep pool called Chajapani. The pool here had plenty of small fish, basking sites and good hiding places....!!!! 

Corbett's Miraculous Five that survived for release..........

On the 11th of July with the forest staff of Halduparao I trekked through the forests to reach Chajapani in pouring rain.....but nothing would dampen our spirits as our young crocodilians would soon be free in their natural habitat. 

The Gharial babies and myself just before their release.......!!!!
The five gharials were released and they stayed in the river not far from our feet unable to decide whether to leave us who had helped them come into this world or to head out into the great unknown...... After an hour with the weather as bad as could be instinct took over and we watched the young babies swim away with soft encouragement from one and all and tears of happiness and joy in our eyes as we watched our babies frolic in the water as they drifted away.....truly this was a Miracle Clutch!!!!!