This pair of gharials means that the number of gharials at Audubon Zoo has doubled. There are currently only 30 gharials in captivity throughout America. The zoo will be sharing their gharials around by sending one to Houston Zoo while keeping the other for themselves.
Many years ago the zoo began an attempt to breed their gharial with one the Houston Zoo loaned them. This year they were successful having a clutch of 20 eggs. 2 of these were fertile and hatched. The zoo believes that they were successful due to the interesting technique of putting the male on a diet said senior reptile keeper, Melanie Litton, “Obesity can effect potency in all kinds of animals, including humans.”
Another problem the zoo faced was that they needed to recreate these animals natural home. This is the swamps and rivers of Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra. Here they are under threat from habitat loss and disruptions from fishing and hunting. While they are recovering from a near extinction in the 1970s false gharials are still seen to be the world’s most endangered crocodilian.
Currently these gharials are only a few inches long. The expert care provided by zoo staff though should allow them to grow up to 15 feet long.
Photo Credit: Audubon Zoo