BRONX, NEW YORK – April 5, 2017 – The WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo recently added eight Indian gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) to the river habitat in JungleWorld, and they made their public debut just in time for Spring Break in New York City. This is the first time the Bronx Zoo has exhibited the species since 2000.


JungleWorld opened in 1985 and is one of the marquee exhibits at the Bronx Zoo. It is an award-winning indoor Asian rainforest that features several multi-species habitats that create a total immersion experience for guests.


The new gharials can be seen in a river that already serves as home to turtles and fish native to Asia. White-cheeked gibbons, mouse deer, Indian fruit bats, painted storks and numerous other species of birds can also be seen along the river’s edge.


Gharial are a slender-snouted crocodilian native to northern Indian subcontinent. They are classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Eighty percent of the remaining world population live in the Chambal River in India – the last stronghold for the species.


WCS has been supporting gharial conservation initiatives in India since the 1970s and continues to sponsor the Gharial Telemetry Project through the Gharial Conservation Alliance, which is managed by the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust Center for Herpetology (MCBT). Through protection and study of gharials in the Chambal Sanctuary, scientists now have a better understanding of how these evolutionarily unique crocodilians use their environment and the threats they face. Additionally, the project has identified key feeding, nesting and breeding areas for the species. 


The eight gharials in JungleWorld were hatched at the MCBT and brought to the Bronx Zoo as part of the ongoing conservation partnership.


“As people watch the gharials swim, bask, and interact with each other, we hope they will enhance the visitor experience and raise awareness of the dire conservation needs of this species in the wild,” said Don Boyer, Bronx Zoo herpetology curator. “WCS is supporting field conservation efforts to ensure the species’ survival in nature, and these eight animals serve as ambassadors to help us tell that story.”


In addition to JungleWorld and the new gharials, the Bronx Zoo has several new activities planned for Spring Break week. The animal care staff will interact with guests and educate them about wildlife and the animals in their care through keeper chats and educational activities.


Many of the species featured in the critically acclaimed Animal Planet docu-series “THE ZOO” will be the subject of keeper chats scheduled daily through the week of Spring Break (April 8-18). Additionally, the Bronx Zoo Quests will return to give families an opportunity to learn what it takes to provide the best care possible to the Bronx Zoo residents.


A full schedule of keeper chats and Quest activities can be found at the Bronx Zoo website:


To read more about gharials from Bronx Zoo Herpetology Curator Don Boyer, visit the WCS Wild View photo blog at: