Conservation work on gharials has been going on since the late 1970s. However, the recent revelations that gharial numbers are in steep decline indicates that despite the efforts of dedicated individuals, the past strategies for conservation have not been effective. Therefore, the Gharial Conservation Alliance and its allies are assessing past failures and developing new plans for immediate action to stem the decline of gharials.
Past conservation efforts included extensive captive breeding and “head-starting” gharials for release into the wild. Although captive breeding has been very successful the head-starting/wild-release programs seems to have been ineffective in stemming the decline of gharials, most likely due to the continued habitat destruction and factors contributing to gharial mortality.
Therefore the GCA is now focusing on habitat protection, enforcement of protected areas, education and cooperation with local people as conservation priorities for gharials.
More on current conservation projects in the works can be found here.
While these new efforts are getting started, the GCA and partners are continuing and stepping up population monitoring efforts and ecological research. This population and ecological data will be used in developing and implementing management plans and advising policy decisions by government. All current and past data on gharials is being compiled to create a Gharial Information Database, which will be a valuable tool for future research and conservation work.
To bring the gharial back from the brink of extinction the following are measures the GCA believes must be taken:
Though the GCA has adopted the position that no further wild releases of gharial be carried out at this time, captive breeding facilities are important reserves for genetic diversity of gharials. This will be important for future restocking efforts if wild habitats are secured and restocking is considered a viable option.
Captive breeding facilities such as the Madras Crocodile Bank have also been important sources for information on the reproductive biology and ecology of the gharial.
Zoos give visitors the chance to see a real live gharial, to learn about this remarkable animal, to appreciate its uniqueness, and to learn about the conservation crisis facing gharials in the wild.
Zoos have become an important force in gharial conservation through education and awareness, fundraising, and may prove to be an important genetic reservoir for the species. Several zoos in Europe and the United States have been particularly helpful, raising much needed funds for GCA research and operations and through outreach and education campaigns. In addition, steps have been taken towards starting World Association of Zoos and Aquria (WAZA) and European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) crocodile campaigns which would include gharial conservation programs.
The following is a list of known zoos that have gharials in their collections. Please contact us if you know of other zoos, or if you are a zoo interested in obtaining gharials for your collection.
La Ferme aux Crocodiles, Pierrelatte,France
Danish Crocodilian Exhibition, Denmark
Prague Zoo, Czech Republic
Busch Gardens, Tampa, USA
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, USA
Ft. Worth Zoo, USA
Honolulu Zoo, USA
National Zoo Washington D.C., USA
St. Augustine Alligator Farm, USA
San Antonio Zoo, USA
San Diego Zoo, USA
Central Zoo, Nepal
Mirpur Zoo, Bangladesh
Alipore Zoological Gardens
Arignar Anna Zoological Park
Assam State Zoo Cum Biological Park
Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park
Chennai Snake Park Trust
Deer Park, Bir Moti Bagh
Gandhi Zoological Park
Indira Gandhi Park Zoo and Deer Park
Indira Gandhi Zoological Park
Jawaharlal Nehru Biological Park
Kamla Nehru Prani Sanghrahalay Zoo
Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden
Kanan Pandari Zoo
Kanpur Zoological Park
Lucknow Zoological Park
Madras Crocodile Bank Trust/Centre for Herpetology
Mahatma Gandhi Rastriya Udyan Zoo
Mahendra Chaudhury Zoological Park
Maitri Baagh Zoo
Mini Zoo Pipli
Nandankanan Biological Park
National Park, Bannerghatta Zoological Garden
National Zoological Park
Nature Park, Surat
Pililikula Wildlife Safari at Madushedde
Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park
Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park
Sarnath Deer Park
Sayaji Baug Zoo
Singapore Zoological Gardens, Singapore
Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens
Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park
State Museum and Zoo
Tata Steel Zoological Park
Vanavigyan Kendra, Hunter Road, Hanamkonda
Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo