Wildlife in Nepal: Experience the Exotic and endangered ones
Although Nepal is constrained by size, the whole geographical feature is very staggering. Snow-capped mountains in the top, panoramic hills with verdant forests in middle and plain and fertile lands below in Terai; this incredible geographical diversity has resulted in being the home of a wide range of wildlife and vegetation.
Adventure is not always scaling to the peak of the mountain; viewing endangered animals like Bengal Tiger or One-horned rhino in a distance of few feet is also no less than any adventures. What will be more thrilling than observing the animals we have seen or watched in only books and television? Nepal makes sure that its visitor has a taste of everything, form exciting adventures to the whirlpool of witnessing the array of wildlife.
Wherever you are in Nepal, you won’t be far from the proximity of conservation areas like National Parks or Wildlife Reserves. You can just pay a visit and observe the lush green forest and wildlife in it. Nepal homes several endangered and rare animals of the world. So, here is the list of some of those animals which you can find in only a few places in the world, and Nepal is amongst them.
ROYAL BENGAL TIGER
Tigers are among the most recognizable and popular of world’s charismatic megafauna. They gradually came under the endangered list due to the loss of habitat resulted by deforestation and hunting by poachers. However, Nepal became the first country to double its national tiger population.
Their dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with a lighter underside make recognizable even from far. Tigers prefer to love in a solitary but also a social predator. So be careful on getting near them if you notice them; they are apex predator and requires a large area of habitat. Chitwan National Park, Bardiya National Park, and Shuklaphanta National Park area where the Tigers can be spotted.
One-horned rhino is a very tough animal with a thick-grey brown skin with pinkish skin folds and a black horn and found in Chitwan National Park in Nepal. Their body is very distinct; upper legs and shoulders covered in wart-like bumps and very less body hair. But don’t worry, despite the built, rhinos are grazers.
They prefer to inhabit in alluvial flood-plain vegetation of sub-tropical climates where water and green grass is available all year. The population of rhino was on the verge of extinction, but with the successful effort of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, the number is gradually increasing.
Asiatic Elephant is another endangered animals and is the largest animal living in Asia. Talking about the physical features, they have the highest body point on the head; back is convex or level, ears are small, and feet have more nail-like structure than those of African elephants. You can observe Asiatic elephant in Chitwan National Park.
Don’t let its fancy name confuse you; they are just a medium-sized wild cat and inhabits in the temperate and boreal forest up to an altitude of 5,500 meters. It is largest of four lynx species, and its existence is under threat due to habitat loss, land fragmentation, poaching and depletion of prey.
They are considered as a very secretive animal. The sound they make is very quiet and seldom heard, so the chances of spotting a lynx are no so high, try being more quiet and on your guard while visiting to see one.
Blackbucks are antelope which are mainly active during the day. Their distinctive physical feature is long, ringed horns of 35-75 cm, generally present in males; however, females may develop it as well. They inhabit in grassy plains, slightly forested area and where water is available throughout the year. In Nepal, they can be found in the south of Bardia National Park.
Clouded leopards are wild cat occurring form the Himalayan foothills in Nepal. Their fur has dark grey or ochreous ground color, often largely obliterated by black and dark dusky-grey blotched pattern. They are also one of the most talented climbers amongst cats and prefers solitariness. They are a rare, secretive, arboreal and nocturnal inhabitant of the dense primary forest.
ASIATIC ROCK PYTHON
Asiatic rock pythons are very large and nonvenomous species whose habitats include grasslands, marshes, swamps, rocky foothills, woodlands, open jungle, and river valley. Their nature is very timid and largely depend on a permanent source of water.
The snow leopard is large cats native to mountain region found at an elevation from 3,000 to 4,500 meters. It is one of the endangered wildlife in the world, threatened by poaching and destruction of habitat following infrastructural developments.
They have very thick fur, small and rounded ears that help minimize heat loss. Also, its long and flexible tails help maintain balance in rocky terrain. Another interesting thing is snow-leopards can’t roar.
Gharials, which we understand as crocodiles are found in Narayani-Rapti river system in Chitwan National Park and the Karnali-Babai river system in Bardia National Park. The global population of gharials is around 250 individuals only.
They are also one of the longest of all living crocodiles with 350-450 cm body length. Also, they are very efficient animal and well adapted at hunting fish under water. Well, you are in the right country to observe this rare wildlife.
Striped Hyenas are a nocturnal animal that emerges only in complete darkness and is quick to return to its lair before sunrise. They are very interesting animals who have a habit of faking death when attacked and when it comes to food, they stand the ground even against large predators too.
This endangered species also features in folklore of some parts of the world and some areas, its body parts are considered to be magical and are used as charms or talismans.
Swamp Deers are a type of deer who ultimately came under the list of endangered animals as wetlands were converted and used for agriculture and poaching for their antlers and meat took a swing. They are mainly grazers and largely feed on grasses and aquatic plants. Their food-schedule is quite unusual; they feed throughout the day mainly in the morning and late afternoons in evenings.
Hispid Hares are in the endangered list since 1986 as their habitat continued to decline as agriculture and human developed kept on increasing. In Nepal, they are found in Shuklaphanta National Park of marshy areas or grasses adjacent to river banks. Their most active time is dusk and dawn, so there is relatively less chance of witnessing this animal during the day. The built is small with harsh and bristly coat and very short ears.
If you have been to the Himalayan part of Nepal, then you have probably witnessed yaks; however, wild yaks and them aren’t the same species. Wild yaks are the ancestors of domestic yaks which you have seen.
Just like domestic yaks, they are heavily built with a bulky frame, sturdy legs, and rounded cloven hooves. Their habitat is treeless uplands between 3,000 – 5,500 meters dominated by mountains and plateaus.
Red Panda is unlike the Gaint pandas you have been hearing about and watching on television. It is smaller in size, and its color is red and white. It inhabits in the eastern Himalayas on an altitude between 2,200 and 4,800 meters. In Nepal, they are common in Illam, around Kanchenjunga mountain and taking about the proximity of Kathmandu, Langtang National Park.
As it is an endangered animal, the chances of spotting a red panda are quite less; however, its active routine form dusk to dawn and large sedentary during the day balances the chances.
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