Wildlife Tour

 

The wildlife of Nepal includes all the plants and animals found in this naturally gifted nation. Due to the variation in climate from stifling to freezing and landscape from plains to mountains Nepal’s diversity in wildlife and vegetation is dazzling.

 

Mammals

 

Mammals are the vertebrates mostly characterized by the presence of mammary glands in females which produces milk for feeding their younger once. Nepal has around 208 species of mammals found in different parts of the country. Among them, some are rare and endangered like snow leopard, one-horned rhino, royal Bengal tiger and red panda. Some notable mammals found in the wilds of Nepal are Bengal for, clouded leopard, monkey, hyena, jackal, wild boar, sloth bear, wild cat, wolf, antelope, spotted deer, barking deer, wild buffalo, Asiatic elephant, etc.  

 

Reptiles

 

Reptiles are turtles, snakes, crocodilians, lizards, amphisbaenas and tuataras.    

Several snakes like cobras, vipers, pythons are found in southern parts of the country. Other reptiles found in Nepal are turtles, lizards, and crocodiles. The fish-eating gharials (alligators) (which were nearly extinct but survived because of a successful breeding project) and the marsh muggers are the two species of crocodiles that reside in swamps, lakes, rivers, and wetlands of Nepal.

 

Birds

 

There are different varieties of birds all over the world with approximately ten thousand species. In Nepal alone over 900 species are found among them 30 species are in danger of extinction worldwide, 1 species; Spiny babbler is endemic (Locally termed as Kande Bhyakur, found only in the middle hills of Nepal) 1 species has just been introduced and 74 species are rare. The hills around Kathmandu valley like Phulchowki and Nagarjuna are famous birding areas.

National parks in the Terai region of Nepal also have large varieties of birds. Some rare species like black stork, white stork, Sarus crane, Bengal florican, giant hornbill, lesser florican, etc can be found in Chitwan, Bardia, Banke, Suklaphanta and Parsa National Parks. Similarly, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Conservation Area is also home to a wide variety of birds. About 485 species of birds including 26 varieties of duck alone are found in this area.  Likewise in the Himalayan region, rare birds like Impeyan pheasant and crimson horned pheasant locally named are shaped (which is also the national bird of Nepal) and Munal can be found.

 

Aquatic Fauna

 

The biodiversity of aquatic fauna in Nepal is also very diverse. The freshwater rivers, streams, high altitude lakes, ponds, etc of Nepal comprise around 200 species of fishes that are found among which 59 species categorized as cold-water fish are available.     

 

Plant and Vegetation

 

”Hariyo Ban Nepal Ko Dhan” is a popular phrase used Nepal which translates to ”green forests are the assets of Nepal” since 44.74 percent of Nepal is covered with forest and scrublands. (According to a joint five-year survey conducted by the Department of Forest Research and Survey and the National Forest Products Survey Project in between 2067 to 2071 BS)

A record from 2006 has shown that 6319 species of flowering plants and 26 species of non-flowering plants are found in high mountains, hills and the Terai region of Nepal among them 399 are endemic. Similarly, 2532 vascular plants have also been recorded in protected sites. The herbs and plants found in the Himalayas of Nepal are used as medicinal plants. Likewise wide varieties of orchids are also scattered around the greens of Nepal.

  

Conservation

 

To protect and preserve these endowments of nature Nepal has established several protected areas since 1973. Nepal Governments Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation has been committed in the conservation of wildlife and vegetation by managing all the protected areas in Nepal which include 12 National Parks, 1 Wildlife reserve, 6 Conservation Areas and 1 hunting reserve.  Besides this, DNPWC has also been doing an admirable job in supporting people living nearby as well as those living inside buffer zones, promoting ecotourism and conduct surveys about flora and fauna including the annual census of endangered animals like the Royal Bengal Tigers and snow leopard.

 

Suggested Package:

Wildlife Safari in Nepal

Wildlife of Nepal

Protected Areas of Nepal

 

 

Greater One Horned Rhinoceros

 

The greater one-horned Rhinoceros also known as the Indian rhinoceros is second in size after the elephant. Mostly found in South Asia and Southeast Asia these grey giants were hunted for sports by the rich and killed as an agricultural for by farmers. This pressed the species close to extinction during the late 19th century. The population is currently being brought back from the perimeter of extinction by the commitment, management and strict protection of Nepalese and Indian wildlife authorities. The rhino population has recovered from less than 200 last century to around 3500 in the north-eastern India and Terai region of Nepal.    

 

Characteristics

 

The greater one-horned rhino has thick grey hairless skin that develops thick folds. Their skin has a maximum thickness of 4 cm. Both male and female rhinos have one horn which is usually 20-26 cm long and weighs up to 3 kg. The males have head and body length of 368-380 cm and weigh about 2200 kg whereas females are 310-340 cm weighing around 1600 kg.  They have short but solid legs; these strong legs enable them to run 40 to 45 km per hour, impressive speed for an animal with such enormous size. They have poor eyesight but an excellent sense of smell and good hearing capacity.

 

Habitat and food

 

Rhinos live in the alluvial flood-plain vegetation of sub-tropical climates where water and grass are available all year. Rhinos are grazers. They feed on a wide variety of grasses, leaves, branches of shrubs and trees also submerged and floating aquatic plants. They eat in the mornings and evenings. They use their semi-prehensile lips to grasp grass stems, bend it down, bite off the top and then eat it. They also tackle tall plants by walking over it and push it down towards the mouth level by using their body weight. Mothers use these tactics to feed their calves as well.  

 

Behavior

 

Similar to Royal Bengal tigers adult male rhinos mostly live solitary lives, except during mating, fighting, and mothers with calves or subadults. However, during hot seasons, they wallow together in water holes in short term groups these groups consist of a dominant male, females, and calves but no sub-adult males. Mothers stay close to their calves until they are four years sometimes these sub-adults stay together until a newborn arrives. They are good swimmers.

Adult male rhinos urinate backward, 3-4 m behind them, in response to being disturbed by observers. Usually, they are friendly with each other, they often greet each other by waving and bobbing their heads, nuzzling noses or licking, they play fight, and run around. The adult males are the primary instigators in fights. Fights between dominant males are the most common cause of their deaths. They can be aggressive if they feel threatened, they have been known to charge at tourist jeeps when they get too close.

 

Reproduction and Lifecycle

 

The males are aggressive towards females during courtship. They often chase females to long-distance or attack them face to face. The males reach their sexual maturity much later than females. A male younger than 15 years have been studied to successfully mate whereas females start breeding at the age of six, which indicates that the females need to be large enough to avoid being killed during mating by aggressive males. The gestation period is around 15.7 months. Mothers are ready for another birth 34-51 months later.

They have been recorded to live up to 35-45 years in the wild whereas in captivity one rhino has been known to live for 47 years.

 

Greater One-Horned Rhino in Nepal

 

The Population of greater one-horned rhinos in Nepal has increased by 21% individual from 2011 to 2015. The latest rhino count conducted in 2015 has revealed 645 individuals living in Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park, Parsa National Park, and Suklaphanta National Park.

 

 

Suggested Package:

One-Horned Rhino Tour in Nepal

Protected Areas of Nepal

Rhino Conservation in Nepal

 

Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard

 

The Snow leopards are the large cats inhabiting mostly in the mountains of central and south Asia. They are distributed in mountains of countries like Nepal, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Mongolia, and Tibet. Only an estimated 3500 – 7000 Snow Leopards inhabit the wilds while 600 -700 remain in captivity in zoos around the world. They are listed as vulnerable by IUCN because of habitat destruction, global warming, and poaching. They reside in alpine and sub-alpine zones. Hence they are mostly found at an elevation of 3000 – 4500 m (9800 – 14800 ft).

 

Characteristics

 

The snow leopards have thick light grey fur with a black spot on the head and neck. Their tails are bushy and long while the legs are short, making them slightly smaller than other wild cats. The short legs are powerful enough to leap and jump as far as 50 feet. Likewise, the long bushy tails are useful for balancing and covering sensitive parts against the severe mountain chills. They are about 22 inches tall and 30 – 59 inches long weighing between 22 – 55 kg however some large males have been recorded weighing up to 75 kg. They have 1.13 inches long pointed teeth.

 

Alpine Adaptations

 

The Snow leopards are highly adaptive to their habitat in the cold mountains. Their ears are small and round to minimize heat loss. Likewise, their paws are aboard to balance the bodyweight for walking on snow. Similarly, their thick fur patterned with dark rosettes and spots is the perfect camouflage for their rocky habitat. The long dense and woolly fur also protects them from cold. They also use their bushy tails as a blanket while resting.

 

Diet and Hunting

 

The snow leopards are an opportunist and feed on carrion as well. However, these carnivorous cats actively hunt their prey. They are capable of killing most of the animals in their range. They pursue the prey down the steep mountainsides. Using the momentum of their leap they kill with a bite on the neck and drag the prey to a safer location to eat.

Their natural preys are Himalayan tahr, Himalayan blue sheep, wild goats, etc. They usually prefer prey weighing 36 to 76 kg but also hunt smaller mammals. Other species such as wild boar, red panda, and snowcock also become their prey sometimes. They eat all the edible parts of their prey and can survive on one Himalayan tahr for two weeks. Due to the loss of prey animals in their natural habitat, they also feed on domestic livestock resulting in conflict with the herders. They hunt in pairs, especially during mating season.

 

Reproduction and lifecycle

 

Snow leopards reach their sexual maturity at the age of two to three. They normally live for 15-18 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity. They usually mate in a mate in late winters; the mating seasons are short so, the male does not seek out for another partner. They mate 12 to 36 times a day. The gestation period is 90-100 days and the litter size varies from one to five cubs. These younger snow leopards are open their eyes after almost 7 days of birth and can walk when they are five. They are born with a thick coat of fur and have full black spots that turn into rosettes as they grow.

The cubs remain with their mother for almost 18-22 months. After being independent they distance themselves to seek out new hunting grounds. The gestation period is 90-100 days and the litter size varies from one to five cubs. These younger snow leopards are open their eyes after almost 7 days of birth and can walk when they are five. They are born with a thick coat of fur and have full black spots that turn into rosettes as they grow. The cubs remain with their mother for almost 18-22 months. After being independent they distance themselves to seek out new hunting grounds.

 

Snow Leopard Encounter in Nepal

 

Snow Leopard Encounter in Nepal is possible in the northern frontiers of Nepal. The mountain protected areas of Nepal namely the Annapurna Conservation Area, Shey Phuksundo National Park, Kangchenjunga Conservation Area, Manaslu Conservation Area, Makalu Varun National Park, Sagarmatha National park, Api Nampa Conservation Area and Langtang National park are the habitat for these Himalayan cats in Nepal. There are an estimated 350 – 500 snow leopards in Nepal.

 

Snow Leopard | Basic Facts About Snow Leopards

Snow Leopard Encounter in Nepal

Protected Areas of Nepal

 

 

Royal Bengal Tiger

Royal Bengal Tiger

 

Royal Bengal Tiger, the largest of all Asian big cats are one of the tourist attractions of Nepal specially Bardia and Chitwan National Park. They can be differentiated easily because of their strips which are unique. The weight of males ranges from 180 to 258 kg (397 to 569 lb), while that of the females ranges from 100 to 160 kg (220 to 350 lb). Males have an average total length of 270 to 310 cm (110 to 120 in) including the tail, while females measure 240 to 265 cm (94 to 104 in) on average.

 

Hunting and Diet

 

This big carnivorous animal searches for various prey like gaur, water buffalo, sambar. Chital or mottled deer, wild boar and many other species of deer. They mainly search for medium or large prey but also occasionally consume small prey such as rabbits. Bengal tigers can eat around 40 kilograms of food on a single occasion, though they consume a smaller amount. Sometimes these tigers use their brain to hunt for food as they cannot follow prey for long distances. They use a strategy that combines stealth and camouflage. In the sunlight, the tiger hides in the tall grass to stalk an animal. Camouflage can be so effective that the unsuspecting prey can be just a few meters away from the tiger. When it is ready, it attacks silently by the side or behind the victim, jumps quickly and strikes with a blow with its retractable claws or a bite in the neck. Then drag the animal several meters to consume it or can even transport the body through to the water.

 

Reproduction and Lifecycle

 

The Bengal tigers have no definite mating and birth seasons. Mostly birth occurs in December and April but it has also been found in March, May, October, and November. Males reach maturity at 4–5 years of age, and females at 3–4 years. After a gestation period of 104–106 days, 1–4 cubs are born in a shelter situated in tall grass, thick bush or in caves. Newborn cubs weigh 780 to 1,600 g (1.72 to 3.53 lb) and they have a thick wooly fur that is shed after 3.5–5 months. They follow their mother on her hunting expeditions and begin to take part in hunting at 5–6 months of age before that they suckle and eat small amounts of solid food. At the age of 2–3 years, they slowly start to separate from the family group and start looking out for an area, where they can establish their own territory. Young males move further away from their mother’s territory than young females. Once the family group has split, the mother comes into heat again.

 

Mission TX2

 

The government aims at doubling the country’s tiger population by 2022, and in May 2010, decided to establish Banke National Park with a protected area of 550 square kilometers (210 sq mi), which bears the good potential for tiger habitat. It is protected in Chitwan National Park, Bardiya National Park, Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve and Parsa Wildlife Reserve. After the establishment of Banke National Park in 2010, the conservation of tiger in Bardia and other National Park has been more effective. On the occasion of National Conservation Day 2018(September 23), Nepal announced that there are now an estimated 235 wild tigers in the country, nearly doubling the baseline of around 121 tigers in 2009. If these trends continue, Nepal could become the first country to double its national tiger population since the ambitious TX2 goal – to double the world’s wild tiger population by 2022 – was set at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010.

 

Suggested Package:

Royal Bengal Tiger Tour

Protected Areas of Nepal

Mission TX2

Royal Bengal Tiger Facts