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Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve

The KoshiTappu Wildlife Reserve is a significant wetland region in Nepal’s eastern corner, near the country’s southern border with India, on the Sapta-Koshi River plain. It is located on the floodplains of the SaptaKoshi River. The reserve was established in 1976 to protect the only known population of Arna buffalo (Bubalusarnee). The 176-square-kilometer reserve is Nepal’s smallest protected area. The region is defined by the SaptaKoshi River’s eastern and western embankments. Koshi Tappu was designated as a Ramsar site, a globally significant wetland, in 1987. In 2004, the Nepalese government established a 173.5-square-kilometer buffer zone around the reserve.

Features: The SaptaKoshi is one of the Ganges’ three main tributaries. During the rainy season, the reserve experiences rapid and violent flooding. To control floods, embankments have been built parallel to the river.

Climate: There are 3 different seasons in the reserve. Summer (February through May) is extremely hot with little rain. Temperatures in the shade might exceed 40 degrees Celsius. The monsoon season begins in late May/early June and lasts through September, delivering heavy rains on a regular basis. The rainiest month is July; however the season is marked by high humidity and temperatures throughout year.The winter season (October to January) is characterized by sunny skies and mild temperatures, yet it may still be rather chilly.

Flora and Fauna: Tall grasses make up the majority of the vegetation. Once a year, local people are allowed to pick thatch grass. These are used to thatch roofs and construct house walls. Small pockets of Khair-sissoo scrub forest and deciduous mixed riverine forest can also be found. This wildlife reserve provides natural and vital habitat for a wide range of species. This is where the last wild buffalo population may be located.The wild buffalo population, which is believed to be approximately 159 animals, is declining. The horns of wild buffalo are substantially larger than those of tame buffalo. Around 20 additional animal species call the reserve home, including hog deer, wild boar, spotted deer, blue bull, and rock python.

Around 441 bird species, including 20 duck species, 2 Ibis species, white-tailed stonechat, striated marsh warbler, 30 shore birds, 114 water birds, and the endangered swamp partridge and Bengal florican, have been reported.With 87 winter and trans-Himalayan migratory species, the Koshi Barrage is a highly significant resting area for many migrating birds. The Koshi River is home to 80 different fish species. The river has also been home to the rare Gharial crocodile and Gangetic dolphin. Many migrating birds may be spotted on the Koshi Barrage and the river channel throughout the winter.Around the middle of March, migration peaks. During the night and sunrise, a lot of animals come to these locations. Several Himalayan peaks, including Makalu (8463m), the world’s fifth highest mountain, are visible due to the clear sky. Reserve Headquarters can arrange for an elephant ride for visitors.

How to get there: From Kathmandu to Kakarbhitta and Biratnagar, there is a daily bus service (day and night). Visitors should land at Jamuha, 4 kilometers from Laukahi, and then walk 2.5 kilometers to the Reserve Headquarters. On the main highway, a signboard marks the way to Kusaha. Daily flights are also available to Biratnagar; however, tourists travelling to Biratnagar will need to take a bus and should stop at Jamuha.Kusaha is the Reserve Headquarters and near the Reserve Headquarter, there are a few lodges and a teashop. Visitors are encouraged to bring a first-aid kit with them, which should include medications for digestive disorders.

Want to experience the grace and beauty of god gifted nature? You are always welcome to the heavenly KoshiTappu Wildlife Reserve. From sunrise to sunsets, chirping of hundreds of variety of birds to the sightseeing of endangered animals,the reserve is the package of all. It is a perfect place to spend a weekend too. So why don’t we promote our internal tourism area when we have such an amazing and marvelous places with us? If not us than who will take care of our natural heritages and wildlife reserves?

Article written by: Saru Niraula for Land Nepal

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