• Bengal Florican (male)

    Nepal: Conserving Koshi Tappu Wetland and its critically endangered birds

  • Nepal: Conserving Koshi Tappu Wetland and its critically endangered birds

  • Nepal: Conserving Koshi Tappu Wetland and its critically endangered birds

  • Nepal: Conserving Koshi Tappu Wetland and its critically endangered birds

  • Ganges River dolphin by Paul Wilson

    Nepal: Conserving Koshi Tappu Wetland and its critically endangered birds

  • Nepal: Conserving Koshi Tappu Wetland and its critically endangered birds

  • Nepal: Conserving Koshi Tappu Wetland and its critically endangered birds

  • Nepal: Conserving Koshi Tappu Wetland and its critically endangered birds

In Brief

Location:

Koshi River watershed in southeastern Nepal near the border of India.  This project is part of a larger initiative supported by ICFC to establish a 250-km long conservation corridor from Koshi Tappu at 67 meters elevation to the top of the third highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga at 8,586 meters.  ICFC's support focuses on two of the six conservation units along the corridor, describes as the “bookends” at top and the bottom of the 250-km corridor.  (See Nepal: Community-based conservation of threatened species in the Himalaya Mountains)

Goal:

To conserve highly threatened species of birds and other wildlife by protecting and restoring important wetland and grassland habitats in and around the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. 

Conservation Value:

The Koshi Tappu wetland is the largest in Nepal and was established as a wildlife reserve in 1978 to protect the country’s remaining population of the wild water buffalos.  It is also the country’s most important site for migratory and wintering waterbirds.  There are over 38 species of globally endangered and threatened species of mammals, birds and reptiles. Among these, the Bengal florican is one of the most endangered birds in the world and nests on land purchased by ICFC support of this project. Other noteworthy species include wild water buffalo, Asian elephant, Ganges river dolphin, mugger crocodile, swamp francolin, slender-billed vulture and the red-crowned roof turtle.

Threats:

Thousands of people live in the small communities surrounding the Reserve where the primary threats stem from agricultural practices such as uncontrolled burning of grasslands, wood extraction, grazing by cattle, and agricultural chemicals.  Poorly regulated hunting, trapping, and the illegal wildlife trade have direct impacts on fauna.  Aggressive invasive plant species such as water hyacinth and water lettuce have clogged wetlands, while 'mile-a-minute grass' has replaced natural grasslands.

Actions & Results:

  • Strategic purchase of land in the buffer areas of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Refuge to stop encroachment and restore habitats (160 acres completed as of 2021).
  • Restoration of wetland and grassland habitats at Koshi Tappu to save remaining populations of critically endangered Bengal Floricans
  • Installation of signage and fencing as needed to limit and mitigate human and livestock damage
  • Development of education outreach that targets the enforcement of laws protecting wildlife and habitats and reducing the volume of agricultural chemicals.

Project Field Partner:

KTK-BELT

Cost:

Budget for 2020-2021 (one year): US$67,959 
Cumulative cost to ICFC (2018-2020): CA$221,488 for programs and CA$795,445 for land acquisition

Size of Area Involved:

17,500 hectares (175 km2)

Gallery

Click to enlarge an image

Koshi Tappu guide
Yellow-breasted bunting (by Vincent Wang)
Wild water buffalo
Swamp francolin (by Sapon Baruah)
Indian scissor-bill (by Deepak Sahu)
Indian pond heron (by Indranil Bhaattacharjee)
Herbarium created (photo: Amrita Sardar)
Fishing cat
Field participants at Koshi River

In More Depth...

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