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Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve lies on the flood plains of the Sapta-koshi in Saptari and Sunsari districts of eastern Nepal. The Reserve covers 175 sq. kms and was established in 1976.
Rapid and complete inundation of the reserve to depths ranging from 10 to 300 cm. occurs during the monsoon. The Sapta-Koshi River also changes its course from one season to another. The vegetation is mainly tall Khar-pater grassland with a few patches of Khair-sisso, scrub forest and deciduous mixed riverine forest.
The reserve offers important habitat for a variety of wildlife. The last surviving population (about 100 individuals) of Wild Buffalo or Arna is found here. Other mammals occurring here are hog deer, wild deer, spotted deer and blue bull.
The reserve also assists the local economy by providing fishing permits and allowing the collection of edible fruits and ferns in season.
A total of 280 different species of birds have been recorded in the reserve. These include 20 species of ducks, 2 species of ibises, many stroks, egrets, herons and the endangered swamp partridges and Bengal floricans. The endangered Gharial, Crocodile and Gangetic dolphin have been recorded in Koshi river.
Koshi Tappu is easily accessible from Kathmandu, being well connected by a national highway. There are daily flights from Kathmandu to Biratnagar and road connected Biratnagar to national highway.
Parsa Wildlife Reserve
Parsa Wildlife Reserve occupies parts of Chitwan, Makawanpur, Parsa and Bara districts in central Nepal. The reserve headquarters is situated at Adabar on the Hetauda-Birgunj highway and the Reserve covers 499 sq. kms and established in 1984.
The dominant landscape of the reserve, the Churiya hills ranging from 750m to 950m is run east west of the reserve. The reserve has sub-tropical monsoon climate. The forest is composed of tropical to subtropical forest types with sal constituting 90% of the vegetation. In the Churiya hills Chir pine grows and along the stream and rivers Khair, Sissoo with silk cotton tree occur. Sabai grass a commercially important grass species grows well in the southern face of Churiya hill. The reserve supports a good population of resident wild elephant, tiger, leopard, sloth bear, gaur, blue bull, and wild dog. Other common animals are sambar, chital, hogdeer, barking deer, langur, striped hyena, ratel, palm civet, jungle cat etc.
There are nearly 300 species of birds in the reserve. Giant hombill, peafowl, red jungle fowl, flycatchers, woodpeckers etc. are few other common birds found in the reserve. Many kinds of snakes like king cobra, common cobra, krait, rat snake, pythons are found in the reserve due to hot tropical climate.
Parsa wildlife reserve is easily accessible from Kathmandu, being well connected by a national highway and daily flight to Simra.
Dhorpatan Hunting Area
Besides national parks and wildlife reserves Government of Nepal has also set aside a hunting reserve at Dhorpatan where controlled hunting of some species is allowed. Covering an area of 1,325 sq. km., the reserve is situated on the southern flanks of Mt. Dhaulangiri I (8,167 m.) in districts of Rukum, Baglung and Myagdi in western Nepal.
The area's vegetation is characterized by well-developed mixed-hardwood forest at lower elevation and many plant species of drier climate to the north. Tree species include fir, pine, birch, rhododendron, hemlock, oak, juniper and spruce. As in many other protected environments of Nepal, the reserve includes several villages inhabited by hill tribes as well as people of Tibetan descent who supplement farming with trade and animal husbandry. The reserve is one of the prime habitats of blue sheep, a highly prized trophy animal, which is the main target of hunters. Other game species are ghoral, serow, Himalayan tahr, black bear, pheasant and partridge. Endangered species of the area include the red panda and cheer pheasant. Controlled hunting is allowed with proper license and certain seasons of the year. Game license is issued by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation in Kathmandu and there are a few hunting outfitters who can make arrangements for expeditions. Besides hunting, Dhorpatan is also an attractive destination for the trekkers and wildlife enthusiasts as protection has enabled animal numbers to increase in this rarely visited area.
Visitors can hike from Pokhara, which takes about five days, or fly to Dolpa. The best time to visit Dhorpatan is spring and autumn.
Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve
This wildlife reserve is situated in the extreme southwest of Nepal. The name of the park is derived from the largest of these grasslands, which is known as Sukla Phanta. The park area is 155 sq kms and would be 305 sq kms after the completion of its extension. Sukla Phanta's grassland is one of the last remaining habitats for such threatened animals as the hispid hare and the pygmy hog. Besides these, Sukla Phanta is the stronghold for another endangered animal, the barasingha, or swamp deer.
Other wildlife of the park included spotted deer also seen in large numbers, hog deer, nilgai, wild dog, jackal, porcupine and otter. The park and the adjoining for-est is the territory of small number of tigers, which because of open terrain are not uncommon to sight on the prowl. Wild elephants have also been sighted in the park.
A stop at the Rani Tal is a must. This small lake attracts birds and animals alike. Herons, ducks, storks, kingfishers and egrets vie for food and swamp deer wallow at the edges. From a nearby machan one can watch while thousands of waterfowl mingle on the lake surface while it is not uncommon to see hundreds of swamp deer grazing at the water-edge in the evening light. The experience is unique.
Other ways to view wildlife in the park is by driving in land rovers near the lake and river and on nature walks with trained trackers
There are air links Kathmandu via Nepalgunj to the nearby Mahendranagar airstrip. There is a bus service from Nepalgunj and Kathmandu. The best time to visit reserve is from October to April.