SUKLAPHANTA NATIONAL PARK

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A herd of deer seen grazing at Suklaphanta National Park in Kanchanpur district, on Wednesday, March 06, 2019. Photo: RSS

           Suklaphanta National Park was established as Wildlife Reserve in 1976 with an extended area of 305 sq km, which lies in extreme south-western section of Terai in Kanchanpur District of Nepal. It was managed as hunting reserve area at the beginning in 1969 and made National Park in 2017. The name Suklapanta is derived from one of the dazzling open grassland found inside the protected area called “Phanta” with the largest patch of grassland with an area of 16 sq km. This is also one of the best-conserved examples of floodplain grassland.

This National Park touch a common border with the India state of Uttar Pradesh in the south and west which is formed by the Mahakali (Sardar) river, which is a major tributary of the Ganges. The eastern boundary is formed by the Chaudhar river by the international boundary pillars in the forest.

In 1969, this area was favorite hunting ground for Nepal’s ruling class and declared as Royal Hunting Reserve. This area was gazette as Royal Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve in 1973. It is also believed that the forest of the Suklaphanta National Park were once the site of an ancient Kingdom of Tharu King Singpal.

Around 700 species of plants are found in the park. The main species of grass are Imperata cylindrica and Heteropogon contortus. The vegetation types primarily include sal forest, sal savanna which is part of continuum between climax forest and grassland that is maintained by fire and floods. Around 54% of the forest is covered with sal trees. Sal, Khair and Sissoo cover the forest of riverside. There are more than 55 species of mammal and among them 18 mammals are protected under CITIES such as Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Sloth bear, swamp deer, elephant and hispid hare. And also one-horned rhinoceros were trans-located from Chitwan National Park to establish a third viable population in the country. There are 2170 swamp deer in the reserve. There are 424 species of the bird recorded in this park, which includes Bengal floricans, dusky eagle owl, and great slaty woodpecker, chestnut-capped babbler, Sarus crane, rusty-tailed flycatcher, etc.

The climate of this region is subtropical monsoon in which rainfall occurs from June to September and the highest rainfall lies in August. October to November has pleasant daytime and cool nights with occasional rain. In winter season, December to January the temperature falls as low as 7°C and during the summer time the temperature increases up to 45°C.

There are some places to visit for tourists in Suklaphanta National Park, they are; grassland, Rani taal, Mahakali river and bridge and Ghodaghodi taal. And some of the things that to do in the Suklaphanta National Park are; jungle walk, bird watching, jeep safari, sightseeing, Tharu Culture Dance and Dinner.

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