ISSN: (Online) 2321 -4155
ISSN: (Print) 2320 -7000

JOURNAL OF INDIAN RESEARCH
VOLUME : 2, ISSUE : 3, July-September, 2014 (ISSN No. : 2321-4155)
 
HABITAT USE AND CONSERVATION OF MARSH CROCODILE (CROCODILUS PALUSTRIS, LESSON, 1831) IN BEESHAZARI LAKE COMPLEX, NEPAL
Sunil Lal Rajbhandari & Paras Mani Acharya
 
ABSTRACT
The marsh crocodiles Crocodilus palustris, Lesson, 1831 mainly inhabit the Beeshazari and associated lakes, whereas the gharials thrive in the boundary rivers such as Rapti and Buddhi Rapti. Many of the marshes and swamps listed in the Ramsar Site are seasonal, therefore during the dry season the crocodiles disperse to large water bodies such as Beeshazari, Satrahazari, canals and rivers. Some marsh crocodiles co-exist with gharials in the Rapti and Buddhi Rapti rivers. These rivers provide the additional habits for the gharials due to their connection with the Narayani River which supports largest number of gharials in Nepal. Crocodiles in Beeshazari Lake Complex are under pressures from loss of habitat due to encroachment by alien invasive species; high fishing pressure in the rivers; pollution of water bodies due to littering and eutrophication; unregulated visitors pressure; and inadequate awareness.No systematic studies pertaining to dispersal, habitat requirements, breeding and ecology of mugger crocodile in Chitwan National Park exist. Lack of these information have hindered the conservation and management of these threatened aquatic reptiles. This paper focuses in assessing the status and habitat ecology of marsh mugger in the Beeshazari Lake Complex.
 
KEYWORD
alien invasive species, Beeshazari Lake Complex, Chitwan National Park, gharial, habitat , marsh crocodile, Ramsar site
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