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National Parks in Nepal

  • Angie Ong
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  • September 21, 2014
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Government of Nepal has established a network of 17 protected areas since 1973, consisting of 10 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves, 6 conservation areas and 1 hunting reserve.

Here, we list down the 10 x national parks in Nepal, and some descriptions about them.


 

1. Chitwan National Park  – 932 km2 (360 sq mi)

Nepal’s first and most famous national park is situated in the Chitwan Doon or the lowlands of the Inner Terai.

Its recognition as a National Park since 1973, covering an area of 932 sq km. the park includes hilly areas of the Siwalik Range covered by deciduous sal forest. One fifth of the park is made up of the floodplains of the Narayani, Rapti, and the Reu Rivers and is covered by dense tall elephant grass interspersed with riverine forests of silk cotton (kapok), acacia and sisam trees.

This ecologically diverse area is the last remaining home in Nepal for more than 300 of the endangered Asian one-horned rhinoceros and harbours one of the largest populations of the elusive and rare Bengal tiger. Besides rhino and tiger, Chitwan also supports a great variety of flora and fauna.

There are four species of deer, including the spotted chittal, leopard, sloth bear, wild boar, rhesus monkey, grey langur monkey, wild dog, small wild cats, the white stockinged gaur (the world’s largest wild cattle) and many other smaller animals.

The swampy areas and numerous oxbow lakes of Chitwan provide a home for marsh crocodiles.In a stretch of the Narayani river is found one of the few remaining populations of the rare and endangered fish-only eating gharial, or Gangetic crocodile. Here also is found one of the world’s four species of freshwater dolphins. For the ornithologist and the amateur bird-watcher the park offers excellent possibilities with more than 450 species recorded. Some of the resident specialities are several species of woodpeckers, hornbills, Bengal florican, and red-headed trogons. Winter birds such as waterfowl, Brahminy duck, pintails and bareheaded geese, amongst many other cold weather visitors are drawn by the sanctuary of the park’s rivers.

In the summer the forest is alive with nesting migrants such as the fabulous paradise flycatcher, the Indian pitta and parakeets.The Chitwan National park also contains a Ramsar site and Beeshazari lake in its buffer zone. It is a rich in area in terai,the subtropical southern part of Nepal.A total of 68 species of mammals,544 species of birds,56 species of herpeto fauna and 126 species of fish have been recorded in the park.

This park is especially renowned for its protection of One Horned Rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger and Gharial Crocodile.

How to get there? TBA


 

2. Sagarmatha National Park – 1,148 km2 (443 sq mi)

The Mt. Sagarmatha (Everest) and the surrounding areas are important not only to Nepal but also to the rest of the world too. Its recognition as a National Park since 1976 intends to protect its unique cultural, physical and scientific values.The UNESCO recognised Sagarmatha National Park as a world heritage site in 1976 as the park ‘contains superlative natural beauty and is of great aesthetic importance. Sagarmatha National Park covers an area of 1148 square kilometers in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The Park includes the highest peak in the world. Mt. Sagarmatha (Everest 8848 m.) and several other well known peaks such as Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Pumori, AmaDablam, Thamerku, Kwangde, Kangtaiga and Gyachyung Kang.

As Mt. Sagarmatha and the surrounding area is of major significance not only to Nepal but to the rest of the world, its status as a national park since 1976 is intended to safeguard its unique cultural, physical and scientific values through positive management based on sound conservation principles.TheSagarmatha National Park is the highest national park in world, located above 3000 meters i.e. 9700 feet. The park comprises the upper catchment areas of DudhKosi and BhoteKosi Rivers. Most part of the landscape is rugged terrain and gorges of the high Himalayas.

The Park is located amidst the peaks which are counted among the tallest in the world. Mount Sagarmatha is none other than Mt. Everest itself. Other well known peaks such as Lhotse, Thamerku, Pumori, AmaDablam, Cho Oyu, Kwangde, Kangtaiga and Gyachyung Kang are also located nearby. More than 118 species of birds and 26 species of butterflies reside in the park.

How to get there? TBA


 

3. Bardia National Park – 968 km2 (374 sq mi)

Bardiya National Park was initially a Royal Hunting reserve,Bardia National park is the largest national park in the lowland Terai covering on area of 968 sq.km. The park situated in Nepal’s Western Terai was established to protect representative ecosystems and conserve tiger and its prey species. Initially, a small area was gazetted as the Karnali Wildlife Reserve in 1976. 1500 households of the Babai valley were resettled outside the park allowing the vegetation and wildlife to flourish. In 1982, it was renamed as Bardia Wildlife Reserve, and in 1984 it was extended to its current size. The reserve was given the status of a National Park in 1988. Greater One-horned Rhinoceros were translocated from Chitwan National Park in 1986, 1991, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. In 1997, an area of 327 km2 surrounding the park was declared as a buffer zone, which consists of forests and private lands. The park and local communities jointly manage the buffer zone. Together they initiate community development activities and manage natural resources in the buffer zones. An elephant ride provides a different view of the park as one can go off the main trail, Morning and late afternoon is the ideal time to go on a ride. Karnaliriver is the suitable home for Gangetic dolphin. Babi valley is a majestic place to visit where flagship Rhino, tiger, elephant can be observed in the wilderness site.

How to get there? TBA


 

4.Khaptad National Park – 225 km2 (87 sq mi)

Khaptad is the beauty of Nepal. Even though this is a national park but it is more than that. it is a one of the pacified place.Khaptad National Park is located in the Far-western region of Nepal. The main area of khaptad is situated at the corona of four district(Bajhang, Bajura, Doti and Accham). However anyone can visit this place by chartering private helicopters or by trekking. For wonderful snaps trekking is the best. To reach khaptad locus traverls have to walk around 50 Km. From the Southenside(Silgadi, headquarter of Farwestern Region) or to walk around 32 Km from Western side(Chainpur, headquarter of Bajhang District). Khaptadselivation is around 2960 m to 3200 m.The park was gazetted in 1984 covering an area of 225 sq. km. The area of buffer zone is 216 sq.km. The park is the only mid-mountain national park in western Nepal, representing a unique and important ecosystem. The late Khaptad Swami moved to the area in 1940’s to meditate and worship. He spent about 50 years as a hermit and became a renowned spiritual saint. The park offers a challenging yet rewarding experience unlike any other protected area in Nepal.. The Khaptad Baba Ashram is located near the park headquarters. The Tribeni confluence made by three rivers, and a Shiva temple are on the way to Park Headquarters. Ganga Dashahara is celebrated here during JesthaPurnima and many pilgrims visit the park during the festival. SahashraLinga is another religious site situated at 3,200 m above sea level which is the highest point in the park. Other religious places include Ganesh temple, Nagdhunga and Kedardhunga. These areas are considered as places for meditation and tranquillity and should not be disturbed. Tobacco products, alcohol, and sacrificing of animals are prohibited in these areas. There is a small museum and a view tower at the park headquarters. To the north one can see the Saipal Himalayan Ranges- In the other direction the vast green mid-hills of Nepal can be seen clearly. There are 22 open patches of pastureland also known as patans mix together with the forests inside park. The local people graze their livestock in the Patans during the summer season. In the north-eastern part of the park, there is a lake called KhaptadDaha. During the full moon of August – September a festival is called Purnima celebrated here.

How to get there? TBA


 

5. Langtang National Park – 1,710 km2 (660 sq mi)

The Langtang National Park is the fourth national park in Nepal and was established in 1976 as the first Himalayan national park. The Langtang area is best known for its pristine forests, high-elevation meadows of wild sheep, Tibetan-like culture and lovely mountain views. The name “Langtang” comes from the story of the ancient Buddhist lama who followed his lost yak into the valley – “Lang” means “yak” and “Tang” means “follow”.

The Langtang National Park , established in 1976, has an area of 1710 sq km and buffer zone area of 420 sq km covering three districts Rasuwa, Nuwakot and Sindhupalchowk encompassing 26 VDCs. The park holds its importance being the melting point between Indo-Malayan and Pale-arctic realms and represents the important ecosystems of both realms as the conservation priority .Langtang represents the good spectrum of vegetation type along the altitude range between 1000m and 7245m. Landscapes produced by the complex topography and geographical settings and altitude can be experienced by walking three days from the Bhotekoshi River to Langsisa.

Being the nearest Himalayan park from the capital city Kathmandu, it is the third most popular trekking destination among all protected areas of Nepal .The Langtang Valley is the most visited part of the park and for those who do not wish to camp, accommodation in lodges is available. Gosainkunda, an area of high altitude lakes, is reached either from Dhunche or from Sundarijal in the eastern part of Kathmandu Valley. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit these lakes during JanaiPurnima festivals in the month of August. Gosainkundalake is believed to have been created by Lord Shiva. Outstanding views to LangtangLirung (7246 m) ,HimalChuli (7864 m) are visible from the trail. The route from Dhunche passes a Buddhist monastery, Sing Gompa. Langtang National Park encloses the catchments of two major river systems. One draining west into the Trisuli River and the other east to the Sun Koshi River. Some of the best examples of graded climatic conditions in the Central Himalaya are found here. The complex topography and geology together with the varied climatic patterns have enabled a wide spectrum of vegetation types. These include small areas of subtropical forest (below 1000 m) Oaks, chirpine, maple, fir, blue pine, hemlock spruce and various species of rhododendron make up the main forest species. Above these alpine scrub and grass give way to rocks and snow.

How to get there? TBA


 

6.Makalu Barun National Park – 1,500 km2 (580 sq mi)

The Makalu Barun National Park is the eighth national park in the Himalayas of Nepal and was established in 1992 as eastern extension of the Sagarmatha National park. High in the heart of the eastern Himalayan, seven valleys radiate from Mt. Makalu, the world’s fifth highest peak. These valleys, particularly the Barun valley, treasure some of the last remaining pristine forest and alpine meadows of Nepal. From the bottom of the Arun valley, at just 435 m above sea level, the Himalayas rise to the snow-capped tip of Makalu 8463 m within a 40 km distance. Within this wide range of altitudes and climates, the Makalu-Barun area contains some of the richest and most diverse pockets of plants and animals in Nepal, elsewhere lost to spreading human habitation.

Nestled in the lower reaches of these valleys are communities of Rai, Sherpa, and Shingsawa (Bhotia) farmers. Though economically poor and isolated, they retain a rich cultural heritage. They hold the key to the preservation of the unique biological and cultural treasures of the Makalu Barun area. Its northern border overlaps the international border to the Tibet Autonomous Region and its southern and southeastern border is close to the buffer zone Makalu Barun Conservation Area covering an area of 830km2. The national park accommodates the fifth highest mountain of the world, Makalu, standing proudly at the height of 8,463m along with Chamalang (7,319m), Baruntse (7,129m) and Mera(6,654m) peaks.

The idea of conserving the cultural and biological features of Makalu Barun area was initiated in the 1984 by the then president of The Mountain Institute Daniel C. Taylor after his two decades long search for the Yeti. However, the prints allegedly believe to be of Yeti belonged to young Asiatic Black Bear.

How to get there? TBA


 

7. Rara National Park – 106 km2 (41 sq mi)

Rara National Park is located in the North-Westem high mountains of Nepal . The park was gazetted in 1976 to conserve the unique beauty of Lake Rara, and to protect the representative flora and fauna of the Humla-Jumla region. The park is Nepal’s smallest protected area, comprising an area of 106 sq. km. There were two villages Rara and Chhapru within the park. The residents of the two villages were resettled in Banke district, outside the park.Rara National Park lies in Mugu and Jumla districts in the mid-western Himalaya, about 371 km by air west-north-west of Kathmandu, the capital city. The southern border is about 24 km north of Jumla.It was gazetted in 1976 with an area of 106 sq. km. This is the smallest Park in Nepal, containing the country’s biggest lake (10.8 sq. kms) and scenically the most beautiful lake at an elevation of 2999m. The Park is rich in coniferous forest and was established to protect Rara Lake which is an important staging point for migratory birds, and to conserve representative flora and fauna of the central Himalaya. The Park flora consists of 1074 species, of which, 16 are endemic to Nepal, 51 species of mammals, 214 species of birds.

How to get there? TBA


 

8.Shey Phoksundo National Park – 3,555 km2 (1,373 sq mi)

SheyPhoksundo National Park is situated in the mountain region of Western Nepal, covering parts of Dolpa and Mugu Districts. Gazetted in 1984, it is the largest national park in the country with an area of 3555 sq. km. The main objectives of the park are to preserve the unique trans-Himalayan ecosystem with its typical Tibetan type of flora and fauna and to protect endangered species such as the snow leopard and musk deer.Much of the park lies north of the Great Himalayan Range. KanjirobaHimal lies at the southern edge of the trans-Himalayan region of the Tibetan plateau. The high Dolpa plateau in the northeast of the park is drained by the Langu (Namlang) River. The southern catchment of the park is drained by the Jugdula and Suligad Rivers, which flow south and drain into the Bheri River. Nepal’s second largest lake, Phoksundo, lies at 3660 m in the upper reaches of Suligad.The vegetation found in the park is diverse due to the influence of two different micro-climates. The southern river valleys along Suligad contain luxuriant forests mainly comprising blue pine, spruce, cypress, poplar, deodar, fir and birch. The Jugdula River valley consists mostly of Quercus species. The trans-Himalayan area has a near-desert type vegetation comprising mainly dwarf juniper and caragana shrubs.The park provides prime habitat for snow leopard and blue sheep. The blue sheep are mainly concentrated around SheyGomba and Dolpo. Other common animals found in the park are: goral, Himalayan tahr, serow, leopard, wolf, jackal, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan weasel, Himalayan mouse hare, yellow-throated marten and langur and rhesus monkeys. The park is equally rich in birds. The commonly seen birds are Impeyan pheasant (danphe), blood pheasant, cheer pheasant, red and yellow-billed choughs, raven jungle crow, show partridge and many others.

How to get there? TBA


 

9.Shivapuri National Park – 159 km2 (61 sq mi)

ShivapuriNagarjun National Park 159 sq km is situated on the northern edge of Kathmandu valley and lies about 12 km away from the center of capital city. The area was gazetted as the country’s ninth national park in 2002. Prior its declaration as national park, it was managed under the Shivapuri Watershed Development Board, and was later declared as Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife Reserve.Shivapuri (SNNP) lies in a transition zone between subtropical and temperate climates. The vegetation consists of a variety of natural forest types including pine, oak, rhododendron and more, depending on altitude and aspect.

Recorded wildlife in the park includes mammalian species such as Himalayan black bear, leopard, jungle cats, and Rhesus monkey. The park is also home to 177 species of birds species such as Kalij Pheasant, Common hill partridge, booted eagle, black eagle, sunbirds and more; this includes at least 9 threatened species; 102 species of butterflies, with a number of rare and endangered species; and 129 different species of mushrooms. Rivers, ponds, marshlands, and reservoirs are the major wetlands in this park. Preliminary surveys show that about 0.17% is covered wetlands. The major wetlands contribute to the recharge of fresh water to the Bagmati, Sunkoshi, and Trisuli rivers.

How to get there? TBA


 

10. Banke National Park –  550 km2 (210 sq mi)

– To Be advised –

How to get there? TBA

 

 

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