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Nature and wildlife of Nepal

Nepal is not only home to the world’s highest mountains but also home to diverse flora and fauna. The diverse climate and geographical conditions have nurtured diverse flora and fauna in Nepal. Nepal forms the western portion of the eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot. Nepal is a haven for various wildlife ranging from the plains of the Terai to the high Himalayas. These landscapes are home to exotic animals like the Royal Bengal tiger, Indian fox, clouded leopard, one-horned rhinoceros, Asiatic elephant, red panda, Himalayan musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan wolf, and the Gangetic dolphin, as well as the critically endangered gharial and the marsh mugger, the Bengal florican, and the white-rumped vulture.

These animals and birds are not limited to one part of the country. They live in different habitat regions all across the country. The great one-horned rhinoceros roams the sub-tropical grasslands of the Terai region. The Terai region is also home to swamp deer, wild buffalo, one-horned rhino, Asiatic elephant, the endangered blackbucks, and the Royal Bengal Tiger. The freshwater Gangetic dolphins live in the Narayani and Karnali rivers. The elusive snow leopard has its territory in the Himalayas. The blue sheep, Himalayan tahr, musk deer, and yaks are other animals living in the high Himalayas.

Nepal is not only famous for its collection of large animals but also for its extensive collection of birds. More than 850 species of birds exist in Nepal, of which 30 species are critically endangered. More than half of these birds can be seen alone in and around the Kathmandu valley. The hills around the Kathmandu valley, like Phulchowki, Shivapuri, and Nagarjun areas are famous for bird watching. Pulchowki hill alone houses about 90 species, including the endemic spiny babbler. Another rare species of bird found in Nepal is the red-headed trogon. Kathmandu, Chitwan, Koshi Tappu, Bardiya, and the Annapurna and Everest region are ideal for bird watching.

Besides, Chitwan and Bardia shelter a wide variety of birds. The Koshi Tappu region is home to a wide variety of resident and migratory birds. Over 100 species of birds migrate to the Terai region of Nepal from Russia and Siberia every winter, including 26 species of ducks alone. About 485 species have been sighted here, including black ibis, honey kites, ospreys, black-headed orioles, peregrine falcon, partridges, ruddy shelduck, storks, vultures, and eagles, among others. The higher Himalayan region is home to many species of raptors and birds of prey like the white humped vulture, golden eagle, and the crescent serpent eagle. Nepal’s national bird, the Danphe or Impeyen pheasant, Himalayan raven, blood pheasant, Koklass pheasant, and Kalij, is found in the Himalayan region.

In recent years many plant and animal species, are threatened due to habitat loss, poaching, growing human expansion, modern development, and climate change. The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation was established in 1973 to conserve and manage the wildlife and biodiversity of the country. Nepal has 12 National Parks, 1 Wildlife Reserve, 1 Hunting Reserve, 6 Conservation Areas, and 13 buffer Zones extending from the Terai region to the Himalayan region covering about 24% of the total land area. Also, 10 wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention.

National Parks in Nepal

Wildlife Reserves in Nepal

Hunting Reserve

  • Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve

Conservation Areas

  • Annapurna Conservation Area
  • Gaurishanker Conservation Area
  • Kanchenjunga Conservation Area
  • Apinampa Conservation Area
  • Manaslu Conservation Area
  • Krishnasar Conservation Area

Wetlands(Ramsar Sites)