Banke National Park

Banke National Park(BaNP) is the newest protected area of Nepal established in 12th July 2010. The National Park is located in the Mid-Western Region, Nepal. BaNP extends over 550 square kilometers in Banke district and its buffer zone, 343 square kilometers, encompasses parts of Banke, Dang and Salyan districts. Together with the neighboring Bardia National Park, the coherent protected area of 1,518 km2 (586 sq mi) represents the Tiger Conservation Unit (TCU) Bardia-Banke.

The Park is adjoining to Kamdi corridor that joins Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary in India through national and community forests towards south. It is connected with Bardia National Park(BNP) towards west which further links with Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in India via Khata corridor, national forest and community forests. BaNP is an important component of Terai Arc Landscape(TAL) which provides additional habitat for tigers. In fact, establishment of this park for the conservation of wild tigers, an endangered wildlife species, reflects the commitment of the Government of Nepal towards biodiversity conservation at landscape level.

About 35,712 populations residing in the 4,861 households in the bufferzone consist mainly of indigenous Tharu community, Brahmin, Chhetri, Magar, Tamang, Majhi and Gurung communities and the ninety percent of the economy of these people depends on agriculture with the remaining ten percent depending on trade and labor.

Banke National Park was established with the objective of conserving endangered species of wild flora and fauna and their habitat, promoting eco-tourism, facilitating buffer zone for resources management, livelihood promotion, income generation and community development activities and strengthening trans-boundary biological corridor.

Banke National Park has three distinct seasons: winter, summer and monsoon, each providing a unique experience. From October to early April, weather is dry, days are warm, and nights are cool and pleasant.

From April to June, temperature grows up to 450C in May/June. The hot humid days gives way to monsoon rains that lasts until September.

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 office. It takes about eight hours bus ride (270 Km) from Mahendranagar and seven hours (250 Km) bus ride from Dhangadi to reach Banke National Park’s head office.

An entry permit is required to enter in to the Banke National Park that can be purchased at entry points with the payment of Rs 500 (foreigners), Rs 200 (SAARC), and Rs 20 (Nepalese) per person per day.

Banke National Park 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 coverage composed of mainly Sal, Karma, Khair and Sissoo.

Three species of mammals (tiger, striped hyena, 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.

The habitat of flood plain, foothill 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 on the south and Babai River on the north forms the life line of the Park.

There are few health posts in the buffer zone and a teaching hospital about 50 km from Park head office, thus a first aid kit including medicines to purify water is advisable. 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.

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