Banke National Park

Banke National Park has been established in 2010, which has reflected Government’s commitment in Biodiversity conservation at the landscape level. In 1998, the area was recognized as gift to the earth. The Park is linked with Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary of India in the south through national and community forests and with Bardia National Park in the west. There are about 4,861 households with 35,712 populations residing in buffer zone area of the park. The major residents are from Tharu , Brahmin, Chhetri, Magar, Tamang, Majhi, and Gurung caste groups. 90% of the economy of people is depending on agriculture and rest 10% on trade and labor.

Climate: The Park has three distinct seasons: winter, summer and monsoon. From October to early April, weather is dry, days are warm, and nights are cool and pleasant. From April to June, temperature rises up to 45O­­C in May/June. The monsoon rains start on July that lasts until September.

Facilities: There are few health posts in the buffer zone and a hospital in Kohalpur city, about 50 km far from the Park head quarter.Thus, a first aid kit including medicines to purify water is advisable. However, communication facility is well established. Fuel stations are limited to highway and self arrangement is encouraged for interior visits. Hotels and lodges are available along the southern border of the Park and few other locations with basic services required for tourists.

How to get there: There are regular flights and tourist coaches from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. It takes approximately an hour drive on a regular or hired bus/taxi from Nepalgunj to Park’s head quarter. It takes about eight hours bus ride (270 Km) from Mahendranagar and seven hours (250 Km) bus ride from Dhangadi to reach there .

Location, Area and Boundary: BaNP (550 square kilometer) lies in Banke district and its buffer zone (343 square kilometer) covers parts of Banke, Bardia, Dang, and Salyan districts of Mid Western Development Region. It is located between 81o 39’29” to 82o 12’19” east longitude and 27o 58’13” to 28o 21’26” north latitude. The boundary of the core area is delineated by Chisapani-Obary section of east-west highway and cultivated land in the south, the Churia ridge in the north, Shiva khola in the east and Kohalpur- Surkhet road in the west.

Bio-diversity and habitat: BaNP contains an array of eight ecosystem types such as Sal forest, deciduous Riverine forest, savannahs and grasslands, mixed hardwood forest, flood plain community, Bhabar and foot hills of Chure range. It is a home to 124 plants, 34 mammals, more than 300 birds, 24 reptiles, 7 amphibians and 58 fish species. 90% natural forest is composed of mainly Sal, Karma, Khair and Sissoo species. Three species of mammals (tiger, striped hyaena, four-horned antelope), four species of birds (giant hornbill, black stork, Bengal florican, and lesser florican) and two species of reptiles (gharial crocodile and python) residing in the Park are protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973 of Nepal. The habitat of flood plain, foot hill and Churia hill are of prime concern to conserve major focus species such as royal Bengal tiger, Asiatic wild elephant and four-horned antelope. Furthermore, the Rapti River in the south and Babai River in the north forms the life line of the Park.

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