I am from the lowland of Terai in Far-western region where beautiful Shukhlaphanta National Park exists. My parent’s house was surrounded by large paddy fields and I grew up listening wonderful frogs crocking in the monsoon. I still rejoice my first field trip to Sukhlaphanta National Park (then Wildlife reserve) at my undergraduate level, I still remember the moment when I saw a big herd of deer. My first encounter to crocodile was when I was in my graduate level. That was the field trip to Bardia National Park where I got the opportunity to see Gharial and Mugger and I quickly fell in love with these animals. For me crocodiles are the most amazing animals on the earth.
I started my research on Gharial from 2009 after receiving small research grant from British Ecological Society, UK. I studied the distribution of the Gharial and people’s knowledge on Gharial and its conservation in Chitwan. It was a great experience to start up the career in the wildlife conservation. I involved in vulture and Sarus Crane study when I was in graduate level at the university. Currently, I am National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellow working on reproductive ecology and acoustic communication of Gharial in Chitwan National Park. The captive breeding program of Nepal has been collecting the wild nests from long time and the reproductive ecology in the wild is the least understood. There is some mismatch between the number of nests and adult female population in Chitwan. So it is not clear if adult females nest every year or in some alternative years. I have been exploring the reproductive behaviors such as mating, courtship, nesting, and guardianship and nesting frequency of adult female in Rapti and Narayani Rivers. Both direct observation and indirect monitoring by using camera traps are used for data collection considering minimal influences to the behaviors.
To explore the acoustic communication of male Gharialis another objective of my research. I am interested to see if the acoustic communication can be used to determine the male population in Chitwan. Hydrophones are deployed to collect the acoustic data. I am also looking the people’s perception on Gharial conservation and the conservation impacts on their livelihood. I always believe that the conservation in Nepal can’t exclude the local people as the forest and rivers are the integral part of their life. So the scientific research by connecting people always fascinates me.
I have been collaborating with amazing gharial researchers in Nepal and India. In Nepal, I am working with Phoebe Griffith, a DPhil student at the Zoological Society London’s Institute of Zoology and the University of Oxford Department of Zoology, and Ashish Basyal, an EDGE fellow working in Bardia population. The wild and captive Gharial have been radio tagged as a part of Ph.D. research of Phoebe Griffith and we have been monitoring those tagged and untagged adult Gharial for reproductive behaviors.I have been working with Jailabdeen A. who is also an EDGE fellow from India and working on acoustic communication of Gharial in Chambal River. We have been sharing data and information to build up a good scientific approach in acoustic communication. As Ashish and I are working in two different important populations of Nepal, we share data and information which is important to develop science-based knowledge on Nepal’s Gharial.
Currently, I am working as a president and conservation biologists at a very young NGO, Care For Nature (CFN). The CFN is established in November 2019 and is dedicated to developing the conservation culture in the society and science based knowledge and approach for natural resource conservation.