Shuklaphanta National Park beckons wildlife enthusiasts

Shuklaphanta National Park, home to swamp deer, is a major tourist attraction in the Far West region of Nepal.

Shuklaphanta National Park was originally a hunting reserve in 1969.

Despite being the smallest national park in the country’s Tarai region, it has a distinct identity and plays an important role in wildlife conservation.

The vast meadows provide suitable habitat for swamp deer, which can be seen in abundance in the park.

Of the park’s 305 square kilometers, the grasslands occupy 55 square kilometers.

According to a recent census, the park is home to 2,314 swamp deer, of which 858 are adult females and 262 are adult males. The swamp deer population has remained stable since 2014.

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Many towers, up to three stories high, were built for visitors to watch the swamp deer.

However, according to the park, only about 3,000 tourists visit the park annually.

18 kilometers southwest of Majgaun, the entrance gate of the national park, are the grasslands where the wildlife of the national park can be observed. Visitors can take a jeep to get there.

In addition to swamp deer, the park is also home to tigers, blue bulls (Boselaphus tragocamelus) and peacocks, among others.

According to the most recent tiger census, the park has 36 tigers. Four years ago there were 19 tigers in the park.

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In addition, in recent years, the park has become famous among nature lovers to study rhinos. Four years ago, five rhinos were relocated to Shuklaphanta from Chitwan National Park. A census two years ago found 16 rhinos in the park.

The park already had 10 rhinos before adding the five from Chitwan.

Blackbucks are another attraction in the national park. The Hirapur area of ​​the park has been reserved for the conservation of black buck whose number stands at 203. Between 2012 and 2015, 42 black bucks were brought into the park from Banke and Bardiya districts.

In addition to the grasslands, the park also has sal forest, wetlands, and about half a dozen lakes. The park is also considered a major destination for bird watchers as 450 species of birds can be found in the park.

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It is also home to 56 species of mammals.

After a 1-hour flight from Kathmandu to Dhangadhi, another 50 km drive brings you to Mahendranagar. Driving from Kathmandu to Mahendranagar by road takes 18 to 22 hours.

Auto rickshaws or other vehicles can be taken to reach the park’s gate from Mahendranagar. It is believed that the morning and evening hours are the best times to visit the park.