Nepal’s National Parks: Home to Exotic Wildlife and Vegetation

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Lying on the lap of Himalayas, Nepal has to offer a wide variety of wildlife and vegetations. With its unparalleled beautiful landscapes, there is something equally, if not more beautiful – its inhabitants. For any nature lover wanting to explore nature in its raw form, Nepal is a perfect destination. And in this article, you will find out what different parts of the country has to offer.

National parks are area protected by the country. This is done for many reasons including but limited to, preserving vegetation and wild habitats in their natural environment and tourism. According to the area and elevation these national parks are located, they host a specific species of animal and plant life. National parks give tourists the ability to watch and admire the exotic wildlife and vegetation.

We have divided this article in 2 parts; Terai Region and Hills & Himalayan Region. As you read along, you will find that each region has various National parks. These National parks are the habitat of the wild and exotic animals those specific places have to offer. So, we have included some packages specific to those regions, if you ever wish to embark upon once in a lifetime journey to visit these amazing places.

Terai Region

Terai Region of the country consists of low altitude and hotter climate region. Its altitude ranges from 60 meters to 305 meters above sea level. This range of elevation and hot climatic condition is inhabited by animals such as Gharial, Mugger crocodile, King Cobra, and so on. Different species of birds and animals in the Terai region of Nepal are written below.

Animals (Reptiles):          Gharial, Mugger Crocodile, King Cobra

Bird species:                       Bengal florican, lesser adjutant, swamp francolin, white-rumped vulture, Oriental darter, sarus crane

Mammal species:             Asian elephant, Gaur, Indian rhinoceros, Blackbuck, Tiger, Leopard, jungle cat, fishing cat, leopard cat, smooth-coated otter, large Indian civet, Asian palm civet, small Indian civet, Hispid hare

There are many national parks that lie in the Terai region of the country. This includes Chitwan National Park, Parsa National Park, Bardia National Park, Banke National park and so on. While they all host a variety of beautiful wildlife and vegetation, Chitwan National park and Bardia National park are the most popular and rich ones.

Chitwan National Park

Situated in the Chitwan district of the country, Chitwan National Park is one of the best and most visited National Parks in the country. 70% of its vegetation consist of Sal forest. The remaining vegetation contains grasslands (20%), riverine forest (7%) and Sal with Chirpine (3%).

There are more than 43 species of mammals in the park. One-horned rhinoceros, tiger, and gharial crocodile. Also, various common species of gaur, wild elephant, four-horned antelope, striped hyena, chital, sambar, barking deer, sloths, etc. are found in the national park.

There are more than 450 species of birds in the park. This includes Bengal florican, giant hornbill, white stork. More common species includes peafowl, red jungle fowl, kingfishers, woodpeckers and so on.

Bardiya National Park

Stretching in the mid-western part of the country, Bardiya National Park is the largest National park in the Terai region. About 70% of the park is covered with Sal forest and remaining with a mixture of grassland, savannah and riverine forest.

The major wildlife inhabitants of this national park include rhinoceros, wild elephant, tiger, swamp deer, black buck, gharial crocodile, marsh mugger crocodile and Gangetic dolphin. Endangered birds include the Bengal florican, lesser florican, silver-eared mesia and Sarus crane. More than 30 different mammals, over 200 species of birds, and many snakes, lizards and fish have been recorded in the park’s forest, grassland and river habitats.

Hills and Mountains

Some of the National parks of the country stretch from Hilly region to Mountain region. That is why we have listed the popular and richer ones of both Hill and Mountain region in this same category.

 The hilly and mountain region of Nepal constitutes major land proportion of the country. They have a rather cold climate as compared to the Terai region due to higher elevation. As a result they give way to a different type of vegetation and wildlife.

Some of the National parks of Hilly and Mountain regions of Nepal include Khaptad National park, Sagarmatha National park, Langtang National park, Shey Phoksundo National park, Makalu Barun National park, Rara National park, Shivapuri Nagarjun National park and so on. Out of these many wonderful parks, we have selected below a list of few. The ones listed below are a more popular and beautiful options.

Sagarmatha National Park

Situated in the north-east of Kathmandu, Sagarmatha National Park lies in the Khumbu region of Nepal. Consisting of the tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha), this national park also consists of various peaks such as Lhotse, Nuptse, Cho Oyu, Pumori, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, and so on.

The vegetation of this national park includes pine and hemlock forests at lower altitudes, fir, juniper, birch and rhododendron forest in a higher altitude. Similarly, the wildlife consists of animals like Himalayan tahr, goral, serow, and musk deer. Snow leopard and Himalayan black beer are also found but are rarely spotted.

Here are some Everest Region trekking packages that lets you enjoy the exotic wildlife and vegetation of the Everest Region

Langtang National Park

Langtang National park is the closest national park from Kathmandu. It starts 32 kms north of Kathmandu up to Nepal-China border.

Due to the graded climatic conditions of this place, we get a very wide variety of vegetation. Small areas of subtropical forest (below 1000 m) which gives rise to temperate oak and pine forests at mid-elevation, with alpine scrub and grasses giving way to bare rock and snow. Trees of oaks, chir pine, maple, fir, blue pine, and various species of rhododendron make up the major portion of the forests.

 These forests provide habitat for various wild animals such as red panda, wild dog, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr, ghoral and common langur. The Trishuli-Bhote Koshi forms an important route for birds on spring and autumn migration between India and Tibet.

Here are some Langtang Region trekking packages that lets you enjoy the exotic wildlife and vegetation of the Langtang Region

Shey-Phoksundo National Park

Shey-Phoksundo National park is situated in the western region mountain parts of Nepal. It covers parts of both Dolpa and Mugu districts and is the largest National park in the country.

This national park contains luxuriant forests, with blue pine, spruce, cypress, poplar, deodar, fir and birch as its majority trees. Some parts of the national park is a trans-Himalayan area and has near-desert type vegetation. This includes mainly dwarf junipers and caragana shrubs.

These vegetation give shelter to many species of animals which includes snow leopard and the blue sheep. Other common species include Himalayan tahr, serow, leopard, wolf, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan weasel, langur and so on. Also, the species of birds found include, Impeyan pheasant (danphe), blood pheasant, cheer pheasants, raven, jungle crow, snow patridge and so on.

Here are some Dolpo trekking packages that lets you enjoy the exotic wildlife and vegetation of the Shey Phoksundo National Park:

Rara National park

Situated in the north-west Nepal, Rara National park lies in both Mugu and Jumla districts. This is the smallest national park in the country with its biggest lake. This national park stretches from 1800 m to 4048 m elevation.

The majority of park consists of coniferous forest. Also trees of blue pine, black juniper, west Himalayan spruce, oak and other species can be found in the park. Deciduous tree species like Indian horse-chestnut, walnut and Himalayan poplar are also found.

This vegetation is the habitat of many animal species too. This includes musk deer, Himalayan black bear, leopard, ghoral, Himalayan tahr and wild boar. Along with these animals, species of birds such as great-crested grebe, black necked grebe, snowcock, chukor patridge, Impeyan pheasant (danphe) kalij pheasant and blood pheasant are found in Rara national park.

Here are some Rara trekking packages that lets you enjoy the exotic wildlife and vegetation of the Rara National Park:

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