Tiger sightseeing a big draw for Bardia Nat’l ParkThe number of tourists visiting Bardia National Park has increased primarily due to the high chance of spotting the rare Royal Bengal Tiger. The lure of seeing the endangered creature in its natural habitat is proving irresistible as more than 15,000 tourists visited the park in the first nine months of the current fiscal year.
The number of tourists visiting Bardia National Park has increased primarily due to the high chance of spotting the rare Royal Bengal Tiger. The lure of seeing the endangered creature in its natural habitat is proving irresistible as more than 15,000 tourists visited the park in the first nine months of the current fiscal year.
The park is home to endangered animals such as Royal Bengal Tiger, wild elephant, great one-horned rhinoceros and other many colorful birds. Badri Binod Dahal, assistant conservation officer at the park, said that Bardia has received “word of mouth” publicity.
This has led to a rise in the number of domestic and international visitors. He said that visitors have been spotting tigers on the bank of Karnali River, Tinkune and Bagaura Phanta daily.
In the first nine months (mid-July to mid-April), 4,581 foreign tourists visited the park. Among them, 2,008 were from France, 1,050 from the UK and 948 from the US. From the Saarc countries, there were 522 visitors. The park has been attracting hordes of domestic visitors.
More than 10,000 domestic tourists have visited the park in the first nine months of the current fiscal year. In the last fiscal year, the park received 17,959 visitors.
Elephant safari, rafting, fishing, jeep safari, boating and park entry fee are the key income generating activities of the park. “Nowadays, the park has been attracting more tourists as tigers are spotted easily,” said Ramji Thapa, a tourism entrepreneur. According to travel trade entrepreneurs, a foreign tourist spends three to seven days in Bardia, while the length of stay of domestic visitors is four to five days.
Bardia National Park was established in 1988 as Royal Bardia National Park. It covers an area of 968 sq km and is the largest national park in Nepal’s Tarai, adjoining the eastern bank of the Karnali River and intersected by the Babai River in Bardia district.
The park is home to 53 mammals including rhinoceros, wild elephant, Bengal tiger, swamp deer and the Gangetic dolphin and boasts 407 bird species. The tiger census is conducted in the protected area in every four years. The last census held in 2013 put the number tigers in the country at 198, of which 120 were counted in the Chitwan National Park, 50 in the Bardia National Park, 17 in Shuklaphanta National Park, seven in Parsa National Park and four in Banke National Park.
The number of tigers has increased in Bardia for the past two years due to the suitable natural habitat, availability of prey and improved security situation, according to the park authorities.