Nepal is home to a fascinating variety of animals and birds including the endangered species like the Royal Bengal tiger and one horned rhinoceros. Wildlife tours in the National Parks are greatly enjoyed activities in Nepal. Nepal is a tiny country, but enjoys a climatic diversity ranging from hot/humid to alpine/arctic conditions hence harboring an incredible variety of flora and fauna. Nepal is rich in wild life. The tropical jungles of the Terai preserve some of the best wildlife habitat in the subcontinent. Nepal has 16 national parks, wildlife reserves and conservation areas, occupying 16 percent of its total geographical area.
Some famous National parks that lie in the plains (Terai) of Nepal are Bardia National Park, Koshi Tapu Wildlife Park and Parsa Wildlife Reserve .Bardia National Park in the western Terai provide some of the best wildlife and nature viewing places in Asia. For the more serious bird watcher the Koshi Tapu Wildlife Park, in south-east Nepal, provide a unique venue for watching migratory waterfowl, waders and shore birds that congregate along the Koshi River from December to February every year. We have a choice of Jungle Lodges, Tented Camps and Guest Houses from where you can explore the Himalayan parks and its wildlife. Jungle safaris on elephant back or jeep rides are offered at the Parsa Wildlife Reserve, which is located in terai. Another famous national park, the Makalu-Barun National Park is in mountainous area of the Himalayas in northern Nepal, it includes the rich forested valleys of the Barun and seven other rivers. Wildlife tour in the park unfold unlimited plethora of fun, adventure, excitement and pleasure.
Royal Bardia National Park
The Royal Bardia National Park is the largest and least-disturbed wilderness area in the Terai. It was established in 1988. One can savor the forest and its unique sanctuary on a quite nature walk with a local guide. It covers an area of 968 square kilometer.). The area of belonging to the park was declared a buffer zone in 1997. It is located in the mid-far western Terai, to the east of the Karnali River. Royal Bardia National Park has immense amount of accumulated plants, animals and ecosystem.
Royal Bardia National Park, the largest park in the lowland Terai houses more than 30 different mammals, varieties of species of snakes, lizards and fish, endangered animals such as the Bengal tiger, blue bulls, wild elephants, greater one horned rhinoceros, swamp deer, wild boars, langur and rhesus monkeys, civets, hyenas, rhesus macaque, jackal wild dogs, sloth bears, otters, tiger, black buck, gharial crocodile, marsh mugger and gigantic dolphin, threatened birds such as Bengal Florican, Lesser Florican and Sarus Crane. Adding charm to the Park, several migratory birds visit the park. The park is marked as bird watcher’s paradise, consisting of beautiful and colorful bird. During your pleasurable visit to the park, you get ample opportunity to enjoy elephant safari, bird watching, rafting along Karnali River, village tour, cultural program and crocodile breeding center tour.
The park is the largest and most undisturbed wilderness area in the Terai. About 70% of this vibrant park is embodied with Sal trees adjusted with a mixture of riverine forest, grassland and Savannah. The approximately 1500 people who lived in this valley have been resettled elsewhere. Since farming has ceased in the Babai Valley, natural vegetation is regenerating, making it an area of prime habitat for wildlife.
Entry Fee Per Person Per Day:
For the Foreign Nationals, the entry fee per person per day in this Royal Bardia National Park is around Rs500/-. (Note: Entrance fee not required for children under 10 years).
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve:
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve was established in 1976, and covers an area of 175 square kilometers. The reserve is named after the biggest river of Nepal, the Koshi. It is located on the flood plain of the Koshi River in the eastern Terai of Nepal. It is a major residing, staging and wintering site for waterfowls and waders in the subcontinent.
With the opening of Koshi Tappu Reserve, bird watching is gaining grounds in Nepal. This reserve is a home to around 441 species of birds, 30 shore birds, 114 water birds, 20 ducks and 2 ibises The Koshi Barrage is an extremely important resting-place for migratory birds numbering to 87 winter visitors. Bird watching is a very pleasant experience during late autumn and early spring when the migration occurs. The Koshi River which forms the major landmark of the reserve is home to 80 fish species. The endangered Gharial crocodile and Gangetic dolphin have been recorded in the river. The last surviving population of wild buffalo or arna in Nepal is found here. Its number at present is estimated to be 150. The reserve is a habitat of 20 other animal species such as hog deer, spotted deer, wild boar, blue bull and rock python.
The vegetation mainly includes tall khar-pater grasslands with a few patches of khair-sissoo scrub forest and deciduous mixed riverine forest. The reserve also assists the local economy by providing fishing permits and allowing the collection of edible fruits and ferns in season.
Entry Fee Per Person Per Day:
For the Foreign Nationals, the entry fee per person per day in this Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is around Rs500/-. (Note: Entrance fee not required for children under 10 years).
Parsa Wildlife Reserve:
Parsa Wildlife Reserve is located in the south-central lowland Terai of Nepal. The 499 square kilometer of pristine sub-tropical jungle makes Parsa Nepal’s largest wildlife reserve. It was established in 1984. Parsa Wildlife Reserve occupies parts of Chitwan, Makawanpur, Parsa and Bara districts in central Nepal.
The reserve supports good population of various endangered species wild Asian elephant, tiger, Royal Bengal tiger, Sloth bear, and Leopard. Blue bull, Sambar, Chital, Hog deer, Barding deer, Langur, Rhesus macaques, striped hyena, Jungle cat, and Palm civet are also found in the reserve.
There are nearly 300 species of birds in the reserve. White breasted kingfisher, Paradise flycatcher, large racquet-tailed drongo, Golden backed woodpecker, etc are some of the common sights. Giant hornbill, one of the endangered bird species is found in some forest patches. The reserve is also famous for reptiles and different kinds of snakes include common cobra, common and banded karit, python and king cobra having hot tropical climate.
The dominant landscape of the reserve is the Churiya hills ranging from 750 meter to 950 meter and running east-west through the reserve. The reserve has sub-tropical forest types with sal constituting 90% of the vegetation. In the Churiya hills and along the streams, chir pine grows. Khair, sissoo and the silk cotton tree also occur. Sabai grass, a commercially important species, grows well along southern face of the Churiya hills.
Entry Fee Per Person Per Day:
For the Foreign Nationals, the entry fee per person per day in this Parsa Wildlife Reserve is around Rs5, 00/-. (Note: Entrance fee not required for children under 10 years).
Makalu-Barun National Park
The park and conservation area are situated in the Sankhuwasabha and Solukhumbu Districts. The park was established in 1992. It is bordered by Sagarmatha National Park, the Arun River and the Tibetan border; it includes the rich forested valleys of the Barun and seven other rivers. The 2,330 square kilometer region is located only 10 km southeast of Mount Everest which takes its name from the fifth highest peak in the world, Makalu, and the Barun Valley. In a country known for dramatic scenery, Makalu-Barun is a place of particularly spectacular scenery, a rugged landscape of towering Himalayan peaks and deep river gorges. This is the only protected area in Nepal with a strict nature reserve. The park has some of the richest and most unique pockets of plants and animals of Nepal.
Over 400 species of birds have been sighted in the Makalu-Barun area, including two species never before seen in Nepal the spotted wren babbler and the olive ground warbler. Wildlife includes the endangered red panda, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard and possibly snow leopard, in addition to more substantial populations of ghoral, thar, wild boar, barking deer, Himalayan marmot and weasel, common langur monkey and the serow. The Arun river system contains 84 varieties of fish.
Stepping up the slopes are a series of vegetation zones starting with tropical Schima-Castanopsis forest (1000-2000m), rhododendron forests in the sub-alpine (3000-4000 m); and herbs, grasses and rhododendron/juniper shrubs in the alpine pastures (4000-5000 m). Recognized for its tremendous diversity of plants, animals and people, the area contains 25 species of rhododendron, 47 types of orchids, 67 species of economically valuable medicinal and aromatic plants, 19 species of bamboo, 15 oaks including Arkhoulo, 86 species of fodder trees and 48 species of primrose.
Entry Fee Per Person Per Day:
For the Foreign Nationals, the entry fee per person per day in this Makalu Barun National Park is around Rs 1, 000/-. (Note: Entrance fee not required for children under 10 years).
The wild water buffalo (different from the domesticated water buffalo), which is found only in some parts of Asia exist in wet grasslands, swamps and densely vegetated river valleys.In face of its dwindling population, the wild water buffalo has been declared an endangered species.While they were found in most of the countries in South East Asia, unabated hunting has dwindled its population and it is now found only in Thailand, Cambodia, India, Nepal and Bhutan. In Pakistan, Laos, Vietnam and Bangladesh its population has neared zero.
In Nepal this endangered mammal is found only at Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. Latest figures have confirmed that the population of the wild buffalo has increased at the reserve. The wildlife reserve office has reported that there were 219 wild buffaloes in 2009. The number increased to 237 last year. This year’s counting showed an increase of 22, and the total population has soared to 259.
A survey carried out by Himalayan Nature (NGO) at Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, has recorded as many as 12 pairs of Bengal Floricans at the reserve. This makes it the largest ever recorded population of the species in the country. Existing in lowland grassland areas, the bird has been recorded at four protected areas in Nepal — Shukla Phanta, Bardia, Chitwan and Koshi Tappu. Bengal Floricans are an endangered bird species found only in Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Cambodia and Vietnam.
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Good news for animal lovers and bird watching enthusiasts, the 12th Bird Festival will be held at Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve from 2nd February 2012. Promoted with the slogan ‘Wetland Tourism: A unique experience, ’ the festival will be inaugurated at Kushaha of Sunsari district and will run for four days. The festival will feature quiz contests, games and cultural programmes. The event is being jointly organized by Government of Nepal, Department of National Park and Wild Life Conservation, Wild Life Conservation Fund Nepal, Nepal Bird Conservation Association and other international organizations.
The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is renowned for being one of the best locations for birding. It is the smallest (175 sq km) and easternmost reserve in Nepal, and lies north-east at the confluence of Sapt Koshi and Trijuga rivers.Over 280 species of birds has been recorded so far at the reserve. Swamp Francolins, White Ibis, Storks, Lesser Coucal, Striated Marsh Warbler, Black Bellied Tern, Imperial Eagle, Pied and Marsh Harrier, Common Quail, Bengal floricans (Eupodotis Bengalensis), and many other exotic and migratory waterfowl not found elsewhere in Nepal can be seen at the reserve.
(Photo courtesy : NTB)
For birding enthusiasts this article may also be helpful ! – Bird Conservation Nepal, ECS Nepal
The sceneries and the landscapes during High Passes Trek where we also had an opportunity to meet kind local people and the wildlife activities at Chitwan are the best memories of this Holiday. The service of Explore Himalaya was very good.