Shuklaphanta National Park – Largest Open grassland


Shuklaphata national park is a protected area in the Terai region of the far-western region of Nepal. It has an area of 305 sq. Kmof open grassland, forests, riverbeds and tropical wetlands at an altitude of 174 to 1386 meter. It was gazetted in 1975 as a royal Shuklaphata wildlife reserve. A small part of the reserve extends north to the east-west highway to create a corridor for seasonal migration of wildlife into the Shivalik hills. The Syali river forms the eastern boundary southwards to the international boundary with India which Democrats the reserves southern and western boundary.


This area was a favorite hunting ground for Nepal’s ruling class and was declared a royal hunting reserve in 1969. In 1973 the area was gazelle as a royal Shuklaphata wildlife reserve, Initially comparison 155 and extended to its present size in late 1980. A buffer zone of 243.5 was added in May 2004. In 2017, protected area was changed into National Park. The name Shuklaphata was derived from one of the grasslands found inside the protected area. The main grasslands called Shuklaphata is the largest patch of the continuous grassland in Nepal covering an area of about 16


The climate of the region is sub-tropical, monsoonal with an annual rainfall of 1579mm, that occurs from June to September and is highest in August. December and January are fairly cold months.


About 700 species of flora are estimated in the park including 553 vascular plants, 18 pteridophytes, 410 dicots, and 125 monocots. Grassland constitutes almost half the reserve vegetation. The dominant forest type is sal, Khair, and Sissau grow alongside rivers. Grassland encroachment by trees and shrub saplings are the major threats to the long-term existence of the main plants. Threes out-complete any grasses growing under them, especially those that need plenty of sunlight.


There are 46 species of mammal of which 18 are protected under CITES. such as the Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Sloth Bear, Swamp deer, Elephant, Hispid Hare etc. Great one-horned rhino was translocated from Chitwan National Park to establish a third viable population in the country. The crowd of swamp deer in the park’s grasslands is the largest in the world. The population of Haspid Hare may be of international significance. In 2013, there were 2170 swamp deer in the reserve. A rusty-spotted cat was photographed by a camera trap for the first time in the protected area in 2016.

One-horned rhinoceros in a river in Chitwan National Park, on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Photo: RSS


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