Bardia National Park
Bardia National Park is Nepal’s most westerly, and the largest of its seven National Parks. A haven for a wide variety of wildlife, the park was originally formed to protect the various ecosystems found in the area, and to conserve tigers and their prey. The Park has since expanded to become one of the finest in Nepal. Lush dense forests, savannah and riverine woodlands are home to an incredibly diverse range of flora and fauna. Endangered species such as Rhinoceros, Wild elephant, Tiger, Swamp deer, Gharial crocodile, Gangetic dolphin, Bengal florican and the Sarus crane are all found here.
The History of the Park
The parks origins began in the late 1960’s when some 368 sq kms were set aside as royal hunting grounds. However, It wasn’t until 1982 that the Royal Bardia National Reserve was officially formed, and even then it didn’t become a fully fledged National Park until 1988. The aim was to preserve the diversity of decreasing species, in particular the tiger and its natural prey species.
Over 1400 people living in the area, many of them farmers, were removed to provide a greater area for the abundant species within the park. A buffer zone and community forest were established around the park to try to reduce subsistence poaching inside the park by the local communities. Without so much human interference the diverse habitats inside the park have improved greatly. Bardia’s relatively remote location has meant the Park has enjoyed minimum impact from tourism, and though access has improved significantly over recent years, visitor numbers are still much lower than Nepal’s most famous park, Chitwan.
It wasn’t until the mid 90’s that basic facilities for travelers began to appear. Since then, tourism has started to increase and there now are a variety of lodges to choose from. To date the impact of visiting travelers has been minimal and the experience for a visitor is very different to that in Chitwan National Park as you feel much closer to nature and completely removed from bright lights shops, restaurants, bars and traffic.