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Nepal has established seven National Parks and three conservationa area for the protection of the endangered species. There is onlyone hunting reserve in Nepal.These national parks comes under the administration of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department of the government of Nepal. The total area covered by these parks and reserves is 11,001 square kilometers (4,247 square miles). This represents 8% of the total area of Nepal. Nepal is also famous for its national parks most of the tourist come to Nepal to visit these National parks. List of National Parks found in Nepal.

[ Royal Chitwan National Park ] [ Royal Bardiya National Park ] [ Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park ] [ Langtang National Park ] [ Rara National Park ]
[ Shey Phoksundo National Park ] [ Khaptad National Park ]

Royal Chitwan National Park
Royal chitwan national park one of the most popular national parks in Nepal. Before 1950, this area used to be the hunting reserve for the ruling class of Nepal. The hereditary prime ministers of the Rana family, who ruled Nepal for 104 years, often used to invite people from England and India as their guests and huge numbers of tigers and rhinos were killed.

This national park is situated in the sub-tropical lowlands of southern Nepal, lying between two mountain ranges, the Shivalik and the Mahabharat range. This is the flood plain of three rivers, the Rapti, the Reu and the Narayani. The forest is dominated by Sal trees (shorea robusta) and tall grasses.

This is the natural habitat of endangered animals like Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinoceros and gharial crocodile. This park also provides shelters for some of the animals that needs protection like gaur (the world's largest wild cattle), four species of deer, leopards, wild dogs, fishing cats, leopard cats, python and Gangetic dolphin. There are over 50 species of mammals and 450 species of birds in the park.

Tourists can ride elephants and view the wild animals at close range. Besides, one can explore the forest in jeeps and canoes.

Royal Bardiya National Park

Royal Bardiya National Park is situated in western Nepal to the south of the Shivalik range bordering the Karnali River on the west. The vegetation and wild life found in this national park are similar to those of the Royal Chitwan National Park. In addition, the wild elephant and swamp deer are also found here. Rhinos in this area became extinct a long time ago. Therefore, 13 rhinoceros were captured in Chitwan National Park and introduced in this park.

The Royal Bardiya National Park is less popular than the Royal Chitwan National Park because of its difficult access route. However, there is a greater chance of viewing tigers.

Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park

This is the highest national park in Nepal and as well as in the world, with the entire park located above 3,000 m ( 9,700 ft). This park includes three peaks higher than 8,000 m, including Mt Everest. Therefore, most of the park area is very rugged and steep, with its terrain cut by deep rivers and glaciers. Unlike other parks in the plain areas, this park can be divided into four climate zones because of the rising altitude. The climatic zones include a forested lower zone, a zone of alpine scrub, the upper alpine zone which includes upper limit of vegetation growth, and the Arctic zone where no plants can grow. The types of plants and animals that are found in the park depend on the altitude.

In the lower forested zone, birch, juniper, blue pines, firs, bamboo and rhododendron grow. Above this zone all vegetation are found to be dwarf or shrubs. As the altitude increases, plant life is restricted to lichens and mosses. Plants cease to grow at about 5,750 m (18,690 ft), because this is the permanent snow line in the Himalayas.

The Sagarmatha National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth, especially in summer. After the first monsoon rains in June, different kinds of plant grow rapidly. The hillsides become green and different varieties of flowers start blooming, and butterflies of myriad species appear in different colors.

Due to the presence of insects in the environment, many kinds of birds are also seen in the park. 118 species of birds and 26 species of butterflies have made this park their home.

Some of the endangered animals that are found in this park are musk deer, wild yak, red panda, snow leopard and Himalayan black bear. Besides, many other animals such as Himalayan thars, deer, langur monkeys, hares, mountain foxes, martens, and Himalayan wolves are found in the park. However, their numbers are not very large and many visitors may not be able to see them.

The oxygen gets thinner with the altitude. Therefore, the animals that are found here are adapted to living on less oxygen as well as a cold temperature. They have thick coats to retain body heat. Some of them have shortened limbs to prevent loss of body heat. The Himalayan bears go into hibernation in caves during the winter when there is no food available.

Langtang National Park

Langtang national park is the park closest to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Located about 32 km (20 miles) north of Kathmandu, this park consists of the beautiful Langtang Valley, and several high altitude glacial lakes. One of the famous lakes is Gosainkunda, which is a sacred lake for Hindu pilgrims. People from the plains come every year to bathe in this icy cold lake in August.

The climatic pattern of the upper part of the park is similar to the climate of Mount Everest National Park. However, this park also includes some area with subtropical forest towards the south. Therefore a wider variety of vegetation and animals are found here.

Some of the wild animals found in this park are red pandas, musk deer, black bears, langur monkeys, ghorals, Himalayan thars and snow leopards.

This park also includes more than 40 villages which are totally dependent on the forest for wood and pastureland.

Rara National Park

From the east, the high pass of Bul-Bhulei (12,000 ft) forms the gateway to the Rara National Park. Alpine meadows, when in full bloom, present a beautiful picture. The green forests are covered with coniferous deodar, fir, spruce and pine trees and, at higher altitudes, with birch trees. This area falls in the migratory paths of the Bhutias who travel between Mugo and Jumla with their herds of goats, sheep, horses and cows.

The Rara National Park was founded in 1975 by H.M. Nepal Government for the conservation and protection of the beautiful forest environment. It has scope for being developed as a good tourist resort in the backward and under-developed part of Western Nepal. Rara is one of the four National Parks of Nepal, spread out over 44 square kilometers.

This park is named after a lake called Rara. This is one the biggest lakes in Nepal, covering an area of about 15 square kilometers at an elevation of 2,990 m ( 9,717 ft). The Rara Lake, formed on a plateau, is surrounded by beautiful forests of pine and fir. Exotic birds and rare wildlife can be seen in this protected area. The bow-shaped lake is surrounded by gently rolling mountains on all sides.

Originally, the Karnali River used to flow through this area. But due to some geological disturbance, the river passage got blocked and the lake must have been formed. This sweet-water lake is said to be 145 meters deep at the center and has a few streams flowing into it. It has only a very small outlet of water to the west. The National Park is administered by the park warden along with foresters, forest guards, and platoons of the Royal Nepalese Army. Park authorities zealously protect the flora and fauna and strict control is exercised to stop the grazing cattle menace.

The late King Mahendra, the predecessor of the present monarch, was very fond of this place and would camp for many days in the serene and awe-inspiring surroundings of the beautiful lake. He composed many beautiful poems while camping near this lake. On all sides, the lake is surrounded by gentle slopes covered with beautiful pine and fir forests, alpine flowers like potentillas, irises, geraniums, lilies of the valley, daisies, sweet peas, yellow dwarf chrysanthemums, phlox and nasturnums.

The lake is full of trout fish from 14­ to 18" long. The trout fish are said to be slow and numbed by the cold water, and fishing is done in a novel way -- by means of spears.

The number of wild animals like deer, wild dogs, foxes, jackals, wild boars, bears, various types of jungle fowls, birds and vultures are said to be on the increase.

On the eastern side, there is a short takeoff and landing strip for small aircraft.

The Rara National Park was established to protect the unique beauty of the lake and to preserve the surrounding ecosystem. The lake is the home of water birds found in this area. This park has Himalayan bears, Himalayan thar, musk deer and snow leopards.

Shey Phoksundo National Park

This is the largest national park in Nepal and stretches over the Trans Himalayan region. Therefore this park represents a whole range of climates that are found in Nepal. This is the only park in Nepal where the Tibetan desert type of fauna and flora are found.

The main attractions of this park are the Phoksundo Lake and the Shey Monastery. Because of its remoteness, very few tourists visit this national park. Suligad (543 ft, 167 m), the water fall at the highest elevation in the world, comes from Phoksundo Lake at 11,855 ft (3,647 m). This region has been affected very little by modernization.

The wild animals that are found here are Tibetan hare, Himalayan weasels, Himalayan black and brown bear, blue sheep, wild yak, Tibetan antelope, wild yak and different varieties of pheasants.

Khaptad National Park

This park is situated in the far western mountains of Nepal. This national park is different from other national parks in its origin. This was set aside as a national park mainly for religious purposes. A Hindu guru called Khaptad Swami -- also a naturalist -- has been living in this secluded area for many years. It was because of his efforts that an area of about 225 square kilometers (89 square miles) was set aside as a national park. Most of the park has been designated as a sacred forest.

This park mainly consists of rolling hills covered with pastures and oak and coniferous forests. The Hindu guru, who speaks fluent English, is the unofficial caretaker of this park.

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