Baby crocodiles found living in a remote region of Nepal give hope for the future of one of the rarest and strangest reptiles on earth.
With its distinctive long thin snout, the gharial is unique but critically endangered, with fewer than a thousand adults remaining in the wild, reports BBC. The discovery of 100 hatchlings is a boost for the potential recovery of the species, according to scientists.The crocodile is clinging to survival in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Revealing details of the find, researcher Rikki Gumbs of ZSL (Zoological Society of London) said it was amazing to find the baby crocodiles basking on a sand bank in Bardia National Park.
“Given the species is limited to around five populations across its entire range, this is such a positive discovery, and a critical step for the long-term recovery of the species in Nepal,” he said.
“After trekking through the jungle for hours to sit on a ridge and finally catch a glimpse of the hatchlings below us - it was an incredible moment to capture,” said Ashish Bashyal, who leads the conservation project in Nepal. “At around 30cm in size, they look exactly like miniature versions of adult gharials - so incredibly cute,” he said.