The Kingdom of Nepal covers an area of 147,181 square kilometers, and stretches 145-241 kilometers north to south and 850 kilometers west to east. The country is located between India in the south and China in the north. At latitudes 26 and 30 degrees north and longitudes 80 and 88 degrees east, Nepal is topographically divided into three regions: the Himalaya to the north, the hills consisting of the Mahabharat range and the Churia Hills in the middle, and the Terai to the south. Elevations are varied in the kingdom.
The highest point is Mt. Everest (8848 m) in the north and the lowest point (70 meters above sea level) is located at Kechana Kalan of Jhapa District. Altitude increases as you travel south to north. In the north temperatures are below -40Â°C and in the Terai, temperatures rise to 40Â°C in the summer. During June, July and August, the kingdom is influenced by monsoon clouds.
Nepal has been ranked top ten highest flowering plant diversity out of 25 Asian countries. On a world scale Nepal lies 27th in the richness scale on floral diversity. With just over 0.1% of the earths land surface occurring in Nepal, it supports globally known 4.2% butterflies (635 spp), 2.2 % of fresh water fish species (185 spp), 1.1 % amphibians (43 spp.), 1.5% reptile (100 spp.), 8.5% of birds (860 spp.) and 4.2% mammals (181 spp).
Nepal’s vegetation is largely determined by altitude can be conveniently grouped into three main divisions. The lowlands include the Terai, Churia and valleys up to about 1000 m; the midland extends roughly from 1000 – 3000 m and the Himalaya from 3000 to 5000 m. Conditions vary tremendously within these zones however; south facing slopes usually receives more moisture but also more sun in the lower reaches, while certain area that are less protected from the summer monsoon – notably Pokhara- are especially wet. In general, rainfall is higher in the east, and greater diversity of plants can be found there.
About 850 species of birds are found in Nepal. With the opening of Koshi Tappu Reserve, bird watching is gaining grounds in Nepal. Koshi Tappu alone has recorded over 250 species of birds. Rare birds include Impeyean pheasant, the national bird, snow cock, snow pigeon, giant horn-bill, saras crane and babblers. The spiny babbler is a rare endemic variety found only in Nepal. Every year migratory birds from Tibet, Siberia and the northern mountains fly to the lowlands and Terai of Nepal. The Koshi Barrage is one of the most important migratory habitats. Bird watching is a very pleasant experience during late autumn and early spring when the migration occurs. Other parks and reserves also attract more birds and birdwatchers.
Nepal is rich in vegetation. The country’s diverse terrain provides ideal conditions for varieties from tropical to hill plants and flowers. Some orchids and certain varieties of rhododendron are very rare and found only in Nepal. Lali Guras or the red rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal. During the right seasons most visitors who come to explore the natural beauty of the country, are fortunate to have a glimpse of spectacular sights of hills covered with rhododendron flowers. Spring and autumn are the best seasons for flowers in Nepal.
Due to diversity in climate and topography, many different varieties of flowers are found in Nepal. They range from tropical flowers found in the Terai to flowers such as rhododendron that are found only above the snowline. Out of the many varieties of flowers found in Nepal, many species of orchids and varieties of rhododendron are the rarest and most of them are found nowhere on earth. The Lali-Guras Festival, the festival of rhododendron flowers, is held annually at Helambu. Lali-Guras is the Nepalese name for the red rhododendron, and is the national flower of Nepal With all this richness in flowers, Nepal is a flower lover`s paradise. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to be in Nepal for floricultural indulgence. Due to its richness in flowers, Nepal is also known as the ‘only flower that blooms in winter’.
The Asiatic Elephant is found in great numbers in the Royal Bardia National Park in western Nepal. This park is on a traditional elephant migratory route from the western Terai to Corbett National Park in India. The one horned Rhinoceros can be found in the parks along the Terai. There are very few buffalo left in the wild (unlike parts of Africa) although there is a small herd near the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve in the eastern Terai. The tiger is an endangered species, and the leopard or panther is even more elusive. And again most elusive is the snow leopard the mammal of fables, stories and novels and rare sightings.
Other animals include sloth bear, monkeys, langur, lesser panda, chital or spotted deer, barking deer, and the musk deer (in small numbers in the middle hills). In the Royal Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve in the south west corner of Nepal there are herds of swamp deer, with the black buck found in the Bardia region. Near Lumbini the Blue Bull Antelope or Nilgai has made a comeback from 2-5 animals in the early 1990 s to nearly 200.
Snow leopard found in Kanchenjunga Conservation Area
Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is home to wildlife species such as snow leopard, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, goral, serow and common leopard. Other animals abounding the area include blue sheep, rhesus macaw and many others. Impheyan pheasant, red-billed blue magpie, shy drongo are the birds found in this area. Himalayan larch and extensive juniper forests found here are unique to this part of Nepal.
|Group||Name #1||Terai and Siwaliks||Midhills||Highlands|
Distribution of butterflies, Freshwater fishes, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, Mammals
Note : * excluding 11 extinct bird and 3 extinct mammal species