Nepal is home to various animals due to its diverse ecosystem. From the high peaks of the Himalayas to the plain lands of Terai, Nepal harbors huge wildlife. There are 17097 animals which include 208 species of mammals, around 142 reptile species, 867 bird species, and so on. They are protected by 12 national parks, 4 wildlife reserves, and 6 conservation areas.
National animal of Nepal
The national animal of Nepal is the cow. The majority of the population in Nepal are Hindu, and for them, cow holds a deep religious value. According to Hinduism, the cow is a holy animal and an incarnation of mother earth. There is also a festival in Nepal, where people worship cows called “Gai Tihar”.They are equally valuable in the agriculture sector of Nepal. They supply necessary resources including milk, leather, and dung. Being a national animal, it is illegal to mistreat or kill a cow.
Diverse wildlife of Nepal
Nepal has a diverse geographical landscape that harbors a wide variety of wildlife ranging from the snowy leopards found in the high peaks of the Himalayan region to the Royal Tigers roaming in the lush forests of the Terai region.
Animals found in the Himalayan region of Nepal
Nepal is a beautiful country with a large Himalayan range. It is the land of the tallest peak in the world Mt Everest and other various snow glories. The exquisite Himalayan region of Nepal is also blessed with a wide range of animal species. The most common animal found in the Himalayan region of Nepal is Yak. They are similar to cows and are a source of survival for the people living in the Himalayas.
Snow Leopards are another species that will come to mind when talking about the animals found in the Himalayan region of Nepal. They are beautiful creatures with white thick fur and black spots. They are also the endangered animal species of Nepal. Other animals found in the Himalayan region are Himalayan blue sheep, red panda, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr, wild boar, Himalayan pheasant, and so on.
Animals found in the Terai and Hilly regions of Nepal
As we descend from the Himalayas, we enter a new geographical landscape. Terai and hilly regions of Nepal harbor unique and diverse wildlife. It is home to lush forests, green pasture lands, and long rivers. Some famous animals found here are Royal Bengal Tiger, One-horned rhinoceros, Asian Elephants, spotted deer, and so on.
Having a rich ecosystem, it nestles the majority of animals. The national bird of danphe is also found here. Some animal species found in the Terai region of Nepal including mammals, reptiles, fish, and birds are wild boar, red fox, golden eagle, mallard, mugger, Gharial, Indian peacock, python, and so on.
Animals only found in Nepal
There are some animals only found within the borders of Nepal. The rarest animal only found in Nepal is Spiny Blabber, it is a big brown bird with a sharp beak. It is also known as “Kande Bhyakur” in Nepali. It is a shy bird only seen in the middle hills of Nepal, near Kathmandu Valley. Due to the urbanization of the valley, Spiny Blabber is on the verge of extinction.
Top 10 Endangered Animals in Nepal
Nepal is a small country that harbors various species of animals. But due to overhunting, destruction of habitat, poaching, and climate change, they are on the verge of extinction.
The wide variety of animal species attracts hunters and poachers from around the world. The value of items formed from animals, such as ornaments from their teeth, tusks, clothes from their skin, and even drugs made from their bones is very high, which has made these innocent animals a target of human selfishness. Also, the urbanization of their habitat is a major region of their extinction in Nepal.
Red panda, Snow leopard, Bengal Tiger, One-horned Rhinoceros, Himalayan musk deer, Ganges River Dolphin, Swamp Deer, Asian Elephant, Four-horned Antelope, Black Buck, Pabgolin, Assamese Monkey, Grey wolf, Brown Bear, Spotted Linsang, Stripped Hyena, Leopard cat, Clouded Leopard, Himalayan Lynx, Gaur Bison, Wild Yak, Wild Water Buffalo, Great Tibetan Sheep, and Hispid Hare are some of the endangered animals of Nepal.
1) Red Panda
It is a rare and endangered species found in the Himalayan region of Nepal. They have reddish-brown fur and rugged tail. Only 10000 of these species are present on Earth and most of them are found in Nepal
2) Royal Bengal Tiger
Nepal is recognized as the first country to double its tiger population from 121 to 355 in 2022. The Royal Bengal Tiger one of the endangered animal species is found in the Bardiya National Park of Nepal.
3) One-horned rhinoceros
There are 752 one-horned rhinos in Nepal. They are mainly found in the Chitwan National Park of Nepal. The number have rhinos have increased in the past year but they are still an endangered species.
4) Asian elephant
Asian elephants are one of the endangered wildlife in Nepal. There are only approximately 200 to 250 elephants in Nepal. They are the largest animal species found in Asia.
5) Snow Leopard
There are approximately 300-500 snow leopards found in the Himalayan region of Nepal. They are one of the exquisite animal species with white fur and back dots. They are rarely spotted and are referred to as “ghosts of the mountains”.
6) Himalayan musk deer
Due to a serious decrease in its population, the Himalayan musk deer is listed by IUCN as endangered. There are around 2000 to 2500 musk deer found in Nepal. They are an endangered species because of illegal poaching.
7) Ganges River Dolphins
They are mainly found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers and their branches spread along Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. Due to the destruction of their habitat because of damps, irrigation, and urbanization, they fall under the endangered species.
They are also one of the rarest animals found in Nepa. They have been around for over 80 million years and are referred to as living fossils. They are called “Salak” in Nepali and are at risk of extinction due to illegal poaching.
9) Wild Water Buffalo
They are found in the southeast part of Asia, mainly in Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Thailand. In Nepal, they reside mostly in the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. They are an endangered species because of the destruction of their natural habitat because of deforestation, and natural calamities.
10) Grey wolves
They are found in the Upper Mustang, Manaslu, and Dolpa regions of Nepal. They have grey thick fur, which makes them the target for poachers. They are a critically endangered species in Nepal.
Conservation efforts of wildlife in Nepal
Animals are at a huge risk of extinction here in Nepal. Nepal’s government has made crucial conservation efforts. They have established 12 national parks as well as reserves and conservation areas. Almost 23 % of Nepal’s land has been converted into a protected area. It is illegal to hunt endangered species and hunting has been limited. Community efforts have been made against poaching. The nation is willing to follow every measure to protect its wildlife.
12 national parks of Nepal
- Chitwan National Park
- Khaptad National Park
- Bardia National Park
- Sagarmatha National Park
- Langtang National Park
- Shey Phoksundo National Park
- Banke National Park
- Shivapuri National Park
- Makalu National Park
- Parsa National Park
- Rara National Park
These national parks are the building blocks for the conservation efforts of animals in Nepal. They provide shelter to some rare and endangered species of Nepal. They are also the famous tourist destination.
Preservation of tiger and one-horned rhinos
Nepal has been successful in increasing the population of tigers and one-horned rhinos. In 2018, the population of tigers increased to 235 from 121 in 2009, and today the population has doubled to 355. This shows the immense success in conservation efforts made by the country.
Likewise, the number of one-horned rhinos also increased from 645 in 2015 to 752 in 2021. Nepal is can save an animal almost on the verge of extinction with only 200 of the species remaining in the 1900s, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Animal Sacrifice in Nepal
In the name of religion, millions of innocent animals are slaughtered. The tradition of Bali pratha or animal sacrifice is in practice for a long period in Nepal. This is an inhumane practice, that torments innocent animals in the name of religion. Every year, the world’s largest animal sacrifice takes place at Gadhimai Temple in the Bara district of Nepal. Nepal’s Government should put some concrete rules against the unnecessary torment of animals in the name of religion.
Animal Attacks in Nepal
In the past year, more than a dozen people died of animal attacks in the country, according to the data by National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. Also, 192 were injured ad 7 lakh worth of property was destroyed by the attacks. There have been several tiger attacks inside Bardiya National Park and near buffer zones. Animals have been attacking livestock as well. There should be a balance between wildlife and human, otherwise, these incidents will keep on rising.
Wildlife attracts Tourism
Nepal has a huge tourism-based industry. It is a beautiful country with rich wildlife. The animals of Nepal are also one of the many attractions for tourists. The various national parks and zoos in Nepal provide a tourist-friendly exploration of the wildlife of Nepal.
Therefore, the conservation of animals will invite more tourists to the country, raising the country’s GDP. So the government should focus on implementing strict rules and regulations against illegal poaching and hunting as well as animal rights.
View this post on Instagram
The diverse wildlife of Nepal adds to the glorious sanctity of the nation. Animals in Nepal showcase the strength and spirit of the country as well. They also represent the country’s diversity, ranging from landscape, wildlife, and even people. They are an essential part of the country and massive effort should be made for their preservation.