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Kosi Tappu Wildlife Reserve & Kosi Barrage


The Kosi Tappu Wildlife Reserve & Kosi Barrage in eastern Nepal is recognized as one of the best habitats for waterfowl in Asia. The reserve was opened to visitors in 1986 at which time there was no accommodation available. Today jungle camps have been set up to provide food and lodging to visitors who are predominantly birdwatchers.

Lying in the flood plain of the Kosi river in the terai, the reserve receives an incredible number of migratory birds during the winter months. Hence it is one of the best locations for bird watching. Other than birds, it is also home to what was once a large herd of the wild buffaloes locally known as Arna. Incidentally, the herd initially grew largely due to the efforts of private enterprise. A farmer who once owned a large herd of his own eventually let them out in the wild. Another interesting aspect of Kosi is the cattle that have gone astray and are now part of the wild herd that roam alongside the wild buffalo.

A large tract of land here is covered by wetland. The reserve is covered in grassland, marsh, scrub and riverine forests. More than 400 bird species have been sighted here and a peak of over 50,000 duck have been estimated in the past during Feb-March. Some of the birds occurring here are the Bengal florican, Hodson’s Bushchat,Indian Courser along with pratincoles, prinias, kites, gulls, snipes, harriers, storks, egrets, ibises, partridges, herons, eagles, vultures, etc. The list looks endless. A surprise waiting for you are the Gangetic dolphins that delight spectators by springing out of the Kosi river. They have been dwindling in numbers and are listed as one of the endangered species. The best chances of seeing the dolphins are near the Kosi Barrage. Besides these there are also gharial and marsh crocodiles and turtles that roam freely around Kosi Tappu.

Time to visit: November to May: Best time—February to March. Telescopes are recommended along with field glasses. Despite the heat, a jacket is essential in the evenings and mornings. Bird watching is conducted mostly on foot and by rubber raft along the Kosi river.

The reserve lies175sq km to the south east of Kathmandu and is easily reached by flying to Biratnagar from where the journey by road is only – hours long. The entire journey can also be made by road from Kathmandu, along the highway. This bird watchers’ paradise lies just off the East West highway and the park headquarters lies 2.5km from the highway.

The cost and tour details are available on your request.
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