The Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is located just below the looming Mountain Kanchenjunga (8586 m).The months of February to May, as well as August to November, are ideal for visiting the Kanchenjunga Region.
Description: The Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is named after Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak. This is Nepal’s third conservation area, which was founded in 1997. It is part of the Sacred Himalayan Landscape and encompasses an area of 2035 km2. This protected area connects the trans-boundary protected areas of Tibet’s Quomoloangma National Nature Preserve and India’s Kanchendzonga National Park.
Location: In the Taplejung district in eastern Nepal, the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is located in the Himalayas. To the north and east, it shares an international border with Tibet’s Quomoloangma National Nature Preserve and India’s Kanchendzonga National Park. To the west, it shares a boundary with Sankhuwasabha district. It is located between 1200 and 8586 meters above sea level.
Climate: The climate fluctuates based on height due to the large diversity of elevation variations. The area has a longer monsoon season because of the early arrival and late departure of the monsoons. The monsoon rains are driven when the summers are hot and humid,. During the winter, however, there are regular snowfalls and temperatures below freezing.
Wildlife and Vegetation: There are grasslands, woodlands, rivers, and glaciers in the region. It includes almost 2000 blooming plant species. There are 23 indigenous flowering plant species in Nepal. Similarly, this protected area is home to 252 species of birds, 22 species of animals, 82 species of invertebrates, 5 species of fish, and 6 species of amphibians.Endangered animals such as the snow leopard and red panda can also be found in the region. Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is also home to endangered species such as the Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard, serow, and Assamese macaque.
Local Populationaround Kanchenjunga Conservation Area: Taplejung is the home to a diverse ethnic population that speaks a range of different languages. The population of the district is projected to be 122,072, making it rather sparsely inhabited. Rai, Limbu, Tamang, Jirel, Thakali, Magar, Gurung, and Sherpa constitute the majority of Tibeto-Burman ethnic groups.
Activities to do: Trekking, mountaineering, and peak climbing are all popular activities in the area, as are snow leopard and red panda tracking, exploring Yalung Glacier, and trekking to TimbuPokhari.
How to get there: Bhadrapur Airport is the closest airport to the protected area. From Kathmandu, some domestic airlines fly to Bhadrapur on a daily basis. The distance from the airport to Taplejung area is 244 kilometers, and the journey takes 7-8 hours.
The Sacred Himalayan Landscape project aims to protect the region’s abundant biodiversity, improve local livelihoods, and preserve the region’s distinctive culture and customs. However, depletion of forest resources and animals was discovered to be the condition of the destruction caused by socio-economic activities. The demand for food, fuel, fodder, and NTFP increased as the population increased.Despite its ecological diversity, the Kanchenjunga region is under threat of habitat degradation because of human pressure.The public’s understanding of the relevance of and necessity for biodiversity protection is low. It’s due to poverty and economic difficulties, as well as their direct need for forest resources in their everyday life.Action plans must be implemented in order to improve people’s livelihood alternatives as well as Kanchenjunga Conservation Area’s development. Because of this, people will have more alternative livelihood options as ecotourism grows in the region and hence the protection of the Annapurna Conservation Area can be done efficiently.
Article written by: Saru Niraula for Land Nepal