Kanchenjunga Conservation Area
Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is named after the third highest mountain in the world Mt. Kanchenjunga (8586 m). This is Nepal’s third conservation area established in 1997. It covers an area of 2035 km² and is part of the Sacred Himalayan Landscape. This protected area links the transboundary protected areas between Quomoloangma National Nature Preserve in Tibet and Kanchendzonga National Park in India.
Kanchenjunga Conservation Area lies in the Himalayas of eastern Nepal in the Taplejung District. It shares an international boundary with Quomoloangma National Nature Preserve in Tibet and Kanchendzonga National Park in India towards north and east. While to the west it borders Sankhuwasabha District. It lies at an altitude range from 1200 m to 8586 m.
Due to wide range elevation ranges the climate varies depending on its altitude. The region experiences extended monsoon season caused by the early arrival and late departure of the monsoons. When the summers are hot and humid, monsoon showers are a must. Whereas, during winters frequent snowfalls occurs and the temperature is below freezing.
The nearest airport to the conservation area is Badrapur airport. Some domestic airlines operate daily flights to Badrapur from Kathmandu. Taplejung district is 244 km away from the airport and takes 7-8 hours of the ride.
Wildlife and Vegetation in KCA
The area comprises pasture land, forests, rivers, and glaciers. It has almost 2000 species of flowering plants. This includes 23 species of flowering plants endemic to Nepal.
Similarly, 252 species of birds, 22 species of mammals, 82 species of insects, 5 species of fish, and 6 species of amphibians inhabit this protected area. The area is also home to endangered species such as the snow leopard and red panda. Likewise, vulnerable species such as the Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard, serow, Assamese macaque are also the residents of KCA.
Local Population at Buffer Zone
Taplejung district is inhabited by different ethnic groups and speaks a variety of languages and dialects. The district is comparatively thinly populated, its estimated population is 122,072. They are mainly Tibeto-Burman ethnic groups such as Rai, Limbu, Tamang, Jirel, Thakali, Magar, Gurung, and Sherpa. Of these, the Sherpa communities generally live in the highest areas, beyond which there is no possibility of human settlement.
Things to do and places to visit
- Mountaineering and Peak Climbing
- Snow Leopard and Red Panda tracking
- Explore Yalung Glacier
- Trek to Timbu Pokhari
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