Tourism in Bardia
Historical Background and attractions of the park
Bardia National Park (after the abolition of constitutional monarchy in 2006 the name of the park has been changed and now it calls ‘Bardia National Park’) is the largest park in the lowland Terai covering an area of 968 sq. km. The park situated in Nepal’s Western Terai was established to protect representative ecosystems and conserve tiger and its prey species. Initially, a small area was gazette as the Royal Karnali Wildlife Reserve in 1976. When this area was protected, approximately 1500 people of the Babai valley were resettled outside the park allowing the vegetation and wildlife to flourish. In 1982, it was renamed as Royal Bardia Wildlife Reserve, and in 1984 it was extended to its current size. The reserve was given the status of a National Park in 1988. Greater One-horned Rhinoceros were transfered and located from Royal Chitwan National Park in 1986, 1991, and 199918.In 1997, an area of 327 sq. km surrounding the park was declared as a buffer zone which consists of forests and private lands. The buffer zone is jointly managed by the park and local communities19. Together they initiate community development activities and manage natural resources in the buffer zones.The Babai valley extending from Parewa Odar to Chepang Bridge was inclined in the park in1984. The pristine valley is characterized by rich biodiversity. The major vegetation and forest type are wooded grassland and the riverine forest. The transfer and located rhinoceros from Chitwan National Park were reintroduced in this valley. However rhinos could not be sighted during status monitoring undertaken in May 2007.
The luxurious forest in the east of the park also provides a good habitat and corridor for several wildlife species. The Karnali River is home to the endangered Gharial crocodile and marsh mugger. The blue water also provide habitat for the endangered Gangetic dolphin. Largemahasheer, a game fish, is considered an excellent catch. The fast flowing water also provides excellent rafting expeditions. Dense forest of the valley is the home for different birds like Herons, Egrets, Black-necked stork, and little pratincole. Similarly the Tharu ethnic group is native to this area. Traditionally they are subsistence farmers and practice their own tribal religious activities. Handicrafts made by the community members could be bought as souvenirs. The park also offers variety of experiences in its vast undisturbed wilderness. About 70% of the forest consist of Sal trees with a mixture of grassland and riverine forest. The park is home to endangered animals such as Royal Bengal Tiger, Wild Elephant, Great One-Horned rhinoceros, swamp, and other many colorful birds.