Park (810 20' E and 280 35' N) is the largest
lowland protected area of Nepal. The park
is located in the western lowland and encompasses
a total area of 968 km2. The park includes
alluvial floodplains created by Karnali
River in the west and pristine ecosystem
of Bardia valley in the northeastern section
of the park.
In 1967, part
of the area was established as Royal Hunting
Reserve. Later in 1976, the area was gazetted
as Royal Karnali Wildlife Reserve to include
an area of 386 sq km and renamed as the
Royal Bardia Wildlife Reserve (RBWR) in
1982. Before the establishment of hunting
reserve the villages located in Baghaura
Phanta and Lamkoili Phanta were relocated
outside the reserve boundary. In 1984, the
area was extended in the east to include
the Babai Valley to encompass a total area
of 968 km2. In 1988, the whole area was
declared as Bardia National Park (RBNP).
Recently the proposed extension of the park
in the east in Banke district has been dedicated
as a "Gift to the Earth" and declaration
is in process.
The park is
bordered with Ratna Highway (Nepalganj-Surkhet
road) in the east. Geruwa River, eastern
branch of Karnali river system forms the
western boundary of the park. The crest
of the Churia range forms the northern boundary
of the park and the southern boundary adjoins
cultivated lands, settlements, buffer zone
forest and part of the East-West Highway.
The park is
reputed for its rich biodiversity. The vegetation
in the park ranges from early successional
stage, tall floodplains grassland, established
on the alluvial floodplain of Karnali, Orai
and Babai river systems to the climax stage,
sal (Shorea robusta) forest, extended on
relatively dry flat lands and slopes of
the park are revegetated and are dominated
by grass species.
diversity of the park includes 53 species
of mammals including endangered megaherbivores
like rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) and
elephant (Elephas maximus), more then 25
species of reptiles, over 400 species of
birds, 121 species of fishes and unknown
diversity of mollusks and arthropods.
conservation in the park has yielded satisfactory
results as a number of mammalian species
such as tiger, elephant, spotted deer, hog
deer, smabar deer, swamp deer etc. have
made remarkable comeback. In this regard,
reintroduction program of endangered rhinoceros
has been carried out regularly since 1986.
So far a total of 58 rhinoceros have been
released in two different sites (Karnali
floodplain and Babai valley) of the park.
The current population of rhinoceros has
been estimated at 73.
The park provides
an excellent wilderness experience for visitors.
Unique flora, fauna and landscape of the
park and indigenous culture of buffer zone
communities are important attraction for
the tourists. In recent years the number
of tourists visiting the park has increased
A narrow strip
of buffer zone covering an area of about
327 sq. km adjoins the park in the west
and in the south. More then 100,000 people
of diverse ethnicity inhabit the buffer
zone. Tharus are the indigenous group and
comprises above 60% of the total population.
Other ethnic groups in the buffer zone include
Brahmin/Kshetri, occupational castes and
the people from Mongoloid origin (Magar,
Gurung, Tamang etc). Agriculture is the
main occupation of buffer zone communities.
in the traditional use of nature resources
inside the park, damage to agricultural
crops, local harassment and livestock depredation
by the park animals have created conflict
between the park and people residing in
the buffer zone. To overcome these problems,
a wide range of initiatives has been instigated
for the past few years. Allowing local communities
to collect thatch grass inside the park
and declaration of buffer zone regulation
are among the major steps taken in this
regard. Beside, a Rahat Kosh (relief fund)
has also been created to compensate injuries
and loss of life, livestock depredation
and property (mainly house) damages caused
by wild animals. Furthermore, RBNP in direct
collaboration with four major projects has
been launching a number integrated conservation
and development programs targeted to build
up harmonious relationship between park
and people as well as to motivate buffer
zone communities towards the conservation
of the park bio-diversity.
For the better
protection and management of the park, HMG
has developed 132 park staff, 2 companies
of Nepal Army and 10 elephants and their
drivers (35 persons). Similarly, a wide
range of interventions has also been made
to manage park's bio-diversity. Habitat
management is among the major initiatives
taken to improve the foraging grounds for
large and medium sized mammals.