As one of the most endangered crocodilians in the world, the gharial is on the verge of extinction in its range countries of India and Nepal. Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has welcomed three of these rare reptiles to a multi-species exhibit within the Asian Gardens habitat area. Once thought to be relatively stable, the wild population of gharials has undergone a drastic decline over the last decade. Now listed as “critically endangered”, environmental experts estimate there are fewer than 250 mature individuals remaining in their range countries. In North America, there are fewer than 25 gharials
housed in AZA-accredited institutions including the trio at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. The gharial crocodile has a distinctively long pointed snout and can weigh, on average, between 40 and 60 pounds. These harmless fisheating crocodiles will grow to be 12-17 feet in length, from approximately 6-feetlong today. The zoo’s herpetology team members are training the reptiles to come near the water bank to feed, similar to the Orinoco crocodiles.
Photo by Matěj Baťha
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You can share the care for the Zoo’s newest residents, by purchasing an animal adoption package. Your symbolic adoption will help to provide expert care for one year. Packages start as just $35 and make great gifts too! Anybody can participate in the program.. individuals, families, school classrooms, scout groups, businesses, clubs or sports teams. Visit LowryParkZoo.org or call 813-935-8552 ext 215.
October 2014 • 21
Published on Sep 30, 2014
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