Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve: A Birdwatcher’s Paradise
Nepal homes an array of conservation sites in different location ranging from lower to higher elevation that boasts rich and varied biodiversity. Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve falls on that very list located in tropical Terai region of Nepal. The reserve offers an excellent journey through the jungles of lowland area forested by varieties of vegetation and homed by many species of wildlife.
ABOUT KOSHI TAPPU WILDLIFE RESERVE
Established in 1976 and designated as a Ramsar site in December 1987, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is accessible from the main highway of Nepal, Mahendra Highway.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve stretches to wide-area covering mudflats, reed beds and freshwater marshes in the flood plain of the Sapta Koshi River. The reserve, along the Koshi Barrage, was identified as one of the 27 Important Bird Areas of Nepal in 2005.
THINGS TO DO IN KOSHI TAPPU WILDLIFE RESERVE
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is a birdwatcher’s paradise, a perfect destination for avid birdwatchers. There are 485 species of birds as per the recorded data including Indian nightjar, common golden-eye, Palla’s fish eagle, striated grassbird, white-tailed stonechat, black-headed cuckooshire, dusky eagle-owl, watercock, gull billed tern and large adjutant stork.
Some ofter rare occurrence on Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve includes rufous-vented grass babbler and swamp francolin.
To explore the wide land of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, nothing would be better than floating along the Koshi River. Animals visit the bank of the river to quench their thirst in summer and to bask in the warmth of the sun during summer. Wildlife Rafting is the best thing to do in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, where gharial and Gangetic crocodile and wild buffalos can be seen too.
The lush jungle of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is perfect for jeep safari that lets you explore the delightful forest covered with unique vegetation, with an opportunity of spotting wildlife and birdlife. Jungle Safari along the blets of reserve’s river is a popular thing to do amongst the visitors.
Another interesting thing about Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is the settlements within. Along with the wildlife and vegetation, the reserve homes the distinctive settlement of Tharu community, whose culture and tradition are rather intriguing.
Tharu people call themselves as the people of the forest. Shifting cultivation, hunting, collecting wild fruits are part of their lifestyle. Their house is made of clay, mud, dung, and grass with colorfully painted verandahs and outer walls, which are based on devotional activities and passed on from generation to generation.
Tharu village of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve also promotes community-based tourism. The village has been declared plastic-free with the help of reserve.
VEGETATION OF KOSHI TAPPU WILDLIFE RESERVE
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve protects and promotes the major part of eastern Nepal’s biodiversity. The tropical land of reserve mainly comprises mixed deciduous riverine forest, grassland, and marshy vegetation. Of the total coverage of the reserve, grasslands occupy 68%, and the forest is only about 6% predominated by Indian rosewood.
Senegalia catechu is found in the northwestern part of the reserve. As the reserve is largely occupied by grasslands, the ones near the running water bodies are maintained by annual flooding and grazing of wildlife.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve has 514 species of a recorded number of plans in an extensive wetlands area. Cattail, kapok, eelgrass, Imperata cylindrica, sugarcane, reed, Azolla, lotus, hydrilla, and Einchhorina are some species found in the reserve.
ANIMALS AND BIRDS IN KOSHI TAPPU WILDLIFE RESERVE
The reserve has 32 species of mammals as per the record including spotted deer, hog deer, wild boar, Asian elephant, golden jackal, and smooth-coated otter. Ganges river dolphin is also often sighted in the Koshi river. Other wildlife includes gaur and blue bull, whose population have declined in number.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve has the last remaining population of about 150 wild water buffalo. However, as per the census of 2016, the population has grown to a total of 432 individuals with annual growth of 7.27%. This very reason has scaled-up the importance of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve in Nepal’s biodiversity scenario.
To keep up this surge and further promote wild water buffalo population, transfer of some of them to the flood plains of Chitwan National Park is currently in the plan. The translocation of wild water buffalo will create a natural predator-prey scenario, as in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, they have lacked their natural predators in the form of tiger, leopard, and dhole.
As the reserve has the best treat for bird watching with around 500 species of bird, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is mainly known for birdwatching. Along with all the species, Bengal florican was also sighted in spring 2011.
Along with the wide range of wildlife in the land area, the reserve is inhabited by animals in the water course and ponds too. Two hundred species of first, eleven turtle species, nine frog species, six lizard species, five snake species, and two toad species, including gharial and mugger are also the part of the reserve.
BEST TIME TO VISIT KOSHI TAPPU WILDLIFE RESERVE
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve lies in the Terai region, so the weather won’t be much of an obstruction to visit. However, if you want to have the best experience, then October-March will pay you the best.
During this time of year, there is no heavy rainfall nor the extreme heat of summer. Also, Sapta Koshi brings rapid and intense flooding during monsoon, which creates even more problems while visiting.
October-March lets you spot the migratory as well as resident birds on the barrage and main river channel. As the days are clear, you will have the view of the beautiful picturesque of river, wetlands, and forest.
KOSHI TAPPU WILDLIFE RESERVE ENTRANCE FEE
The entrance fee is NRs 1,500 per person and child below ten years old gets free entry in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve.
GETTING TOWARDS KOSHI TAPPU WILDLIFE RESERVE
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve lets you explore the Terai region of Nepal, which is very accessible and easy to get to. The distance from Kathmandu to reserve is 560 kilometers, which takes about 14 hours of drive. While a flight to Biratnagar takes around 30 minutes. From Biratnagar, it again takes 3-4 hours of drive to reach the reserve.
Koshi Tappu is the popular inclusion during our East Nepal Cultural Tour for three days and two night. The tour includes several prominent stops like Chitwan National Park, Janakpur, Dhankuta, and Illam.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is also approached through the adventurous way of river rafting. The ride begins from Dolalghat on the way to Kodari border and Jiri, taking you through the roller coaster of big and small river rapids and joining Sapta Koshi river near Chatara, on the bank of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve.
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