NATURALLY NEPAL "once is not enough"

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Just below the looming Mountain Kanchanjunga (8586 m), lies the Kanchanjunga Conservation Area. Spread in an area of 2035 sq. km, the area is made up of alpine grass lands, rocky outcrops, dense temperate and sub-tropical forests, and low river valleys with the Kanchanjunga as its crown.
Situated in north eastern Nepal in Taplejung District, the conservation area is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region-China in the north, Sikkim-India in the east and Sankhuwasabha District in the west. In 1998, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and WWF Program together launched the Kanchanjunga Conservation Area Project to implement biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
The Kanchanjunga Conservation Area can be synonymized as a repository of flora and fauna. During the spring season, the area has an excellent display of flowering rhododendrons, orchids, lilies, primula and many other flowers. The lowlands are full of tropical hardwoods. These get replaced by oaks and pine as the elevation increases. Further higher is the vegetation including larch, fir and juniper up to the tree line. The conservation area is where you will see 15 of Nepal's 28 endemic flowering plants. Almost all the 30 kinds of rhododendron species are found here. This is also the area where you get to see 69 of the 250 orchids found in Nepal.
Kanchanjunga Conservation Area harbors rich diversity of wildlife including the endangered snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, and red panda. Other animals in the area include the blue sheep, and many others. Impheyan pheasant, red-billed blue magpie, shy drongo are some of the many birds found in the area.
The conservation area has a lot of ethnic diversity and culture. As the original settlers of the Upper Tamur Valley, the Limbu are the dominant ethnic group in the lower regions. The Sherpa/Lama people are in the higher altitude where they arrived from Tibet more than four hundred years ago. These Sherpas have a distinct culture and tradition from those in the Solukhumbu District in the Sagarmatha Region. Also Rais, chhetris, Brahmins and others live in Kanchanjunga. Monasteries, chhortens, temples, prayer-walls are the icons of the conservation area's cultural heritage.

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation joined hands with WWF Nepal Program and launched the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project in 1997 for the sustainable management of the region’s pristine ecosystem. The Department and WWF are presently working with community based organizations of the area for the participatory management of natural resources and also to improve local people’s living conditions through integrated conservation and development.



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