The biodiversity of Nepal is very rich. There are many species of rare and endangered wildlife in Nepal. There is some wildlife which can be found only in Nepal. Also, the vegetation of Nepal is unique varying as per the topography. There are different species of flora and fauna which resides in various parts of the country as per the fitted climate and atmosphere. To protect, preserve and promote them, there are several regions which have been declared as National Park. The area which is designated as a National park is restricted for any kind of exploitation of flora and fauna for the promotion of ecotourism in Nepal. Altogether there are 12 National Parks in Nepal till today’s date. Let us make a rundown to the National Parks of Nepal.
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is the first national park of Nepal, which was established in the year 1984. It is also the World Heritage Site of Nepal in the natural category. The park is spread in the area of 952.63 km2 and is located in the subtropical inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal in the districts of Chitwan, Makwanpur, ParsaandNawalaparasi.
Chitwan National Park is home to the several species of flora and fauna. About 70% of the parks are covered by the sal tree. In the northern slope, there is chir pine, while the southern sal comprises small flowering tree and shrub species like beleric, rosewood, axlewood, elephant apple and so on. Also, there are more 50 species of grass including the world’s tallest grasses like elephant grass called Saccharumravennar, gaint cane, khagra reed, and several species of true grasses.
With the wide range of vegetation, the park is also inhabited by many species of wildlife. The park is home to more than 700 species of wildlife, which includes Bengal tiger and one-horn rhino. There are also 17 species of snakes, starred tortoise and monitor lizards, without counting king cobra and rock python. There are 68 different species of mammals and around 543 species of birds. Also, the butterflies, moths, and insect of parks are yet to be surveyed.
Parsa National Park
Formally Parsa National Park was a wildlife reserve, and it was established in 1984. It has been declared as the National Park of Nepal since 2017. The park covers the area of 627.39 km2 in the district of Parsa, Makwanpur, and Bara. In the northern side of the park, there are Rapti River and Siwalik Hills which forms a natural boundary to human settlements. It used to be the hunting place for the ruling class before turning into a protected area.
The vegetation of park is tropical and subtropical with about 90% of vegetation comprising sal forest. Chir pine, khair, sisso, and silk cotton are some of the vegetation which can be found in the park. In total there are 919 species of flora, which includes 298 vascular plants, 234 dicots, 58 monocots, five pteridophytes, and one gymnosperm. The park is also to the wildlife including gaurs and Bengal tigers.
Suklaphanta National Park
Suklaphanta National Park was established as Royal Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in 1976. It was given the title of National Park in 2017. The park consists 700 species of flora, and the forest area is dominated by sal. The park has extensive open grasslands and wetlands around the lake which are inhabited by a wide range of fauna. There are 16 species of mammals which includes Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, swamp deer, sloth bear, and elephant. There are 28 species of fish and 12 reptiles and amphibian species. Also, there is the number of birds in this park is recorded as 423 bird species.
Bardia National Park
Bardia National Park was established as Royal Karnali Wildlife Reserve in 1972. It was declared as Royal Bardia Wildlife Reserve in 1984, and in 1988 it was declared as a national park. The park covers the area of 968 km2 with over 50% area as a forest with the balance mixture of grassland, savannah, and riverine forest. Bardia National park is home to 839 species of flora and 542 species of fauna. There are 125 recorded species of fish in Karnali-Babai river system. 52 species of mammals including wild elephant, rhino, Bengal tiger and Gangetic dolphin can be found. Also, there are 23 reptiles and amphibian and 407 species of birds.
Langtang National Park
Langtang National Park was established in 1976 as the first Himalayan national park of Nepal. It covers the area of 1,710 km2, and the altitude exceeds the range of 6,450 meters. The Gosaikunda Lake is a major attraction of the park, which is visited by thousands of people for the trekking or religious propose. There are different types of vegetation in the 18 types of the ecosystem that ranges from the upper tropical forest below the altitude of 1,000 meters altitude to alpine scrub and perennial ice. Also, the park is very famous as the home of the red panda and musk deer.
Shey Phuksundo National Park
Established in 1988, Shey Phuksundo National Park is the largest and only trans-Himalayan national park of Nepal and is spread in the area of 3,555 km sq. Shey Phuksundo Lake is the main attraction of the park.
Flora and fauna of park are of a diverse nature. The flora of part consists of rhododendron, Salix, juniper, white Himalayan birch and silver fir. There are 286 species of plants which has ethnobotanical importance. The park is habituated by 200 species of birds, 29 species of birds and six reptiles. Snow leopard, musk deer, leopard, jackal, grey wolf, Himalayan black bear, and blue sheep are some of the wildlife of the park.
Makalu Barun National Park
Makalu Barun National Park was established in 1992 as the eastern extension of the Sagarmatha National Park, and it covers the area of 1,500 km2. The park is home to the fifth tallest mountain of the world, Mount Makalu (8,463 meters). Chamlang (7.319 meters), Baruntse (7, 129 meters) and Mera (6,654 meters) are also within the park range.
The vegetation of the park is very diverse which differs as per the elevation range. In total, as per the report of botanists, there are 3,128 species of flowering plant including 25 varieties of rhododendron, 48 primroses, 47 orchids, 19 bamboos, 15 oaks, 86 fodder trees and 67 species of plant of aromatic and medicinal value. Also, there are 440 species of birds, 315 species of butterflies, 88 species of mammals, 78 species of fish and 16 amphibians.
Banke National Park
Banke National Park was established in 2018, and it covers the area of 550 km2. In the park, there are 133 species of tree, 107 herbal species, and 85 shrubs and climber species. The most common vegetation are sal, khair, axlewood, Semecarpus Anacardium, and Terminalia Alta. Also, tiger, four-horned antelope, and ruddy mongoose can be found in the park.
Khaptad National Park
Khaptad National Park was established in 1984. The park covers the area of 225 km2 and ranges in elevation from 1,400 meters to 3,300 meters. The wildlife of park includes leopard, wild dog, musk deer, and Himalayan black bear. Impeyan pheasant, white-rumped vulture, and peregrine falcon are some of the bird species of the park. Altogether there are 287 species of birds, 23 mammals, and 23 reptiles and amphibians.
Rara National Park
Rara National Park was established in 1976, and it is the smallest national park of Nepal with the total coverage area of 106 km2. The RaraLake of the park is the main attraction. In the elevation below 3,200 meters, the vegetation is characterized by blue pine, rhododendron, black juniper, west Himalayan spruce, and Himalayan cypress. Then above 3,200 meters, there is the mixture of fir, pine, and spruce. As per the recorded data, there are 241 species of birds, 51 species of mammals, three species of birds and two species of reptiles and amphibians. The red panda, snow leopard, Indian leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, jackal, Himalayan tahr and otter are some of the wildlife.
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park was established in 2002, and it is located in the northern fringe of Kathmandu valley. The park covers the area of 159 km2. There are 2,122 floral species, out of which 449 are vascular, and 16 are endemic. Also, there are 129 species of mushrooms in the park. Indian Leopard, Himalayan black bear, wild boar, clouded leopard, leopard cat, barking deer are some of the wildlife of the park. Also, the park is home to 318 species of birds which includes golden-throated barbet, white-gorgeted flycatcher, slender-billed scimitar babbler, barred cuckoo-dove, Eurasian eagle-owl and golden-throated barbet.
Sagarmatha National Park
Sagarmatha National Park was established in 1976 and is spread in the area of 1,148 km2. The main attraction of the park is the Mount Everest at an elevation of 8,848 meters. The park has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International and is also on the list of Sacred Himalayan Landscape.
The vegetation of the park comprises pine, hemlock, birch, rhododendron, firs, bamboo, lichens and mosses. Also, the wildlife includes musk deer, Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, red panda, martens, Himalayan wolves, and others. The park is also inhabited by 118 species of birds.