Royal Bardia National Park
Covering an area of 968 sq. km, Royal Bardia National Park is situated in the mid-Far Western Terai, east of the Karnali River. Originally set aside in 1968 as a Royal Hunting Reserve, the area was gazetted in 1967 as Royal Karnali Wildlife Reserve with an area of 368 sq. km. It was renamed as Royal Bardia Wildlife Reserve in 1982 and extended to include the Babai River valley in 1984. National Park status was gazetted in 1988. The main objectives of the park are to conserve a representative ecosystem of the mid-Western Terai, particularly the tiger ad its prey species.
Details About the Park:
Royal Bardia National Park is the largest and most undisturbed wilderness area in the Terai, providing excellent habitat for the following endangered species:
ENDANGERED ANIMALS :
Rhinoceros , Wild elephant , Tiger , Swamp deer , Black buck , Gharial crocodile , Marsh mugger crocodile , Gangetic dolphin.
ENDANGERED BIRDS :
Bengal florican , Sliver-eared mesia , Sarus crane , Lesser florican.
More than 30 different mammals, over 250 species of birds and many snakes, lizards and fish have been recorded in the park’s forests, grasslands and river habitats. The more commonly seen are:
Langur monkey, Rhesus monkey, Common leopard, Jungle cat, Fishing cat, Large and small Indian civets, Palm civet, Hyena, Wild dog, Jackal, Sloth bear, Otter, Porcupine, Bandicoots, Blue bull (Nilgi), Sambar deer, Hog deer, Barking deer and Wild boar.
Flycatchers , Babblers , Sunbirds, Drongols (7 species), Eurasian thicknee ruddy , Shelduck, Warblers, Bulbuls (5 species), Woodpeckers ( 10 species), Barbets (4 species), Bee-eaters (4 species), Kingfishers (4 species), Parakeets (4 species), Doves (5 species), Pigeons (3 species), Red-wattled lapwing, Common peafowl, Red jungle fowl , Merganser duck, Black-necked stork, White-necked stork, Painted stork, Egrets (4 species), Herons (5 species) and Cormorants.
The Geruwa, a branch of the Karnali River, forms the park’s western boundary, while the crest of the Churia range (Siwalik Hills) demarcates the northern limits. Along the southern edge a forest road forms the boundary, in the east it is formed by the Nepalgunj-Surkhet road. Part of the very scenic Babair River valley is included within the park. The approximately 1500 people who lived in this valley have been resettled else where in Bardia District. Since agriculture increased in the Babai valley, the regeneration of natural vegetation is increasing rapidly, making it an area of prime habitat for wildlife.
About 70% of the park is covered dominantly with sal (Shorea robusta) forest with the balance of mixture of grassland, savanna and riverine forest. The altitudes vary from 152 meters on the Terai to 1441 meters at Sukarmala on the crest of the Churia range.
As with the rest of Nepal the park’s climate is affected by the summer monsoon. The best times to visit are between October and early April when weather is warm and dry. From April onwards the temperatures rise, peaking at around 45 C in May and pre-monsoon thunderstorms continue until late September. During this time most roads and rivers become impassable.
Within the park are several open grassland areas (phanta) where game viewing is excellent. Blackbuck, found in a wild state only in Bardia, are frequently seen in Khairi Panditpur about 30 km south-east of the park HQ. Many forest roads throughout the park also offer excellent game viewing.
The great one-horned rhinoceros was reintroduced to Bardia from Royal Chitwan National Park in 1986. Indications of the success of this translocation became obvious when a rhino calf was born early in 1988. The rhino’s are usually seen in the western part of the park. In 1991, 25 great one-horned rhinos were also translocated to Babai valley from Royal Chitwan National Park.
The Karnali River, one of Nepal’s largest, borders the western edge of the park, providing excellent fishing for mahseer, a large game fish. The endangered Gangetic dolphin is also frequently seen.
Sukarmala, the highest point on the crest of the Churia range, can be reached on foot from Karnali, Chisapani or Khairbhatti. From here there are excellent views north toward the Surkhet valley and south over the Terai. Another high point, Telpani, can be reached from Danawatal.
How to Get There:
The park can only be entered by road. There are regular flights from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj, from where public buses serve the far Western Terai. To reach the park headquarters at Thakurdwara, it is necessary to alight at Motipur and walk 8 km north of Lihalpur on the Nepalgunj-Surkhet road and drive west along the fair weather road inside the park to reach Thakurdwara. This usually takes 3-4 hrs. by 4 WD vehicle. The Mahendra Rajmarg is the main highway which crosses the park.
As there are no medical facilities so it is advisable to carry a comprehensive first aid kit including medicines for intestinal problems. There is a radio at the park headquarters for use in emergencies.
If you are travelling by your own vehicle make sure that you have ample amount of fuel, as there are no filling stations in the park area.
Tourist accommodation within the park is at a tented camp on the banks of the Karnali River, although it is not cheap, the price includes all activities and meals. There are also lodges just outside the park at Chitkaiya, near the park HQ.
Entry fees into Royal Bardia National Park:
The park HQ. is at Tharkurdwara. There is also a sub-headquarters at the eastern entrance to the park at East Chisapani. All visitors entering the park must stop and pay an entrance fee.