Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve information
The smallest of the Terai’s wildlife reserves, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Consisting of 175 sq km of wet and grassland habitat, Koshi Tappu (translating to ‘river islands’) is home to at least 493 species of birds, as well as being the last habitat of the endangered arna (long, pointy-horned wild water buffalo).
It’s a wonderfully serene spot and most travellers who visit are birdwatchers in search of rare species such as the swamp francolin, Bengal florican and sarus crane as well as a variety of warblers and raptors. Migratory species from Siberia and Tibet take up residence from November to February and there are masses of ducks and other waterfowl present in February March. While it lacks heavy hitters like tigers and rhinos, there’s still plenty to see – including Gangetic dolphins, blue bulls, deer, golden jackals, marsh muggers, fishing cats, mongooses, civet cats and porcupines. Wild elephants are also regular visitors, but more so to raid villagers’ crops at night – and hence are seldom seen by tourists. Arna can be sighted late in the afternoon grazing on the tappu and sometimes crossing the river. Gangetic dolphin are best spotted from the southern side of the bridge at Koshi Barrage (be careful taking photos here).