Nepal is an ancient kingdom of breathtaking scenery and charismatic wildlife, including rare and elusive snow leopards, Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinoceros, and red pandas, amid some of the highest mountain peaks in the world, including the highest, Mount Everest.
Once beachfront property with geologic origins 60 million years ago on the Mediterranean Sea, the continental drift which raised the Himalayas left parts of Nepal so isolated they seem untouched by the 20th century.
Life zones of biological diversity range from arctic to tropical within a distance of 100 miles (160 km)—from snow-covered Everest at the top of the world to the Ganges River floodplain a little above sea level and broad, fertile tropical lowlands of the Terai, seasonally drenched with monsoons. (This is where Siddhartha Gautama, later revered as Buddha, was born in 543 BC.)
This diversity includes over 800 bird species, nearly 10 percent of the avian species in the world. Demoiselle cranes fly from Tibet for the winter. There are red-billed blue magpies, great “bone-cracker” lammergeiers, colorful and vocal babblers or laughing thrushes, parakeets, sunbirds, griffons, eight stork species, and six kinds of resplendent multihued pheasants, including the Nepalese national bird—the monal or impeyan which dazzles its prospective mate with an incredible blaze of vibrating orange and iridescent blue tail and wing feathers.
There are 6,500 known species of trees, shrubs, and wild flowers.
Some of the endangered residents are protected by the remoteness of their habitat but all are threatened to some extent by human population growth and its environmental demands. Many are poached for their physical parts, from hides and bones to internal organs and even urine, some parts regarded as food delicacies, others as trophies, others as valuable folk medicine.
Parks and reserves, including buffer zones, cover over 18 percent of the country.
Of worldwide interest and significance are ROYAL CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK which with contiguous Parsa Wildlife Reserve covers more than 859 square miles (2,240 km2) in southcentral Nepal, home to Nepal’s only significant surviving population of one-horned rhinoceros and such other endangered species as Bengal tigers, Gangetic dolphins, and gharial crocodiles— altogether over 50 mammal species and more than 400 kinds of birds; and in the west, ROYAL BARDIA NATIONAL PARK, also with Bengal tigers as well as blue bulls, a variety of deer, and a small herd of introduced rhinoceros.
ROYAL CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK as well as...
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
Sagarmantha National Park
Makalu-Barun National Park
Qomolangma Nature Preserve
Annapurna Conservation Area
Langtang National Park
Shey Phoksundo National Park
Rara National Park
Royal Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve
Kanchenjunga Conservation Area
More about the Reserves in nepal
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