This is Nepal’s smallest reserve, encompassing an area of 65 sq. kilometers in the Koshi flood plain in the eastern Terai. It is located in Eastern Nepal and can be accessed from the Mehendra Highway. The reserve is also home to the water buffalo (called arna), deer, nilgai, mugger crocodile, Ganges River Dolphin (also called the Gangetic Dolphin), and over 280 species of birds.
In additional to wildlife, the Reserve also protects a substantial part of the Sapta Koshi, (a tributary of the Ganges River) flood plain. In 1987, it was declared a Ramsar site.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve lies on the floodplains of the Sapta Koshi River in the south-eastern Terai. The reserve was gazetted in 1976 to preserve habitat for the only remaining population of Wild buffalo, Arna (Bubalus arnee). The 176 sq. km. reserve is Nepal’s smallest wildlife reserve. The eastern and
western embankments of the Sapta Koshi River define the area. In 1987, Koshi Tappu was declared a Ramsar site, a wetland of international significance. Government of Nepal has declared the buffer zone ( 173.5 sq. km ) surrounding the reserve in 2004.
It’s a wonderfully serene spot and most travellers who visit are bird-watchers in search of rare species such as the Bengal florican and sarus crane. At least 439 species of birds have been recorded here and migratory species from Siberia and Tibet take up residence from November to February. Arna tend to hang out on the tappu and you may also spot deer, wild boars, pythons and crocodiles. There are thought to be a handful of Gangetic dolphins in the Sapt Kosi but they are very rarely seen.
Most visitors come on organised tours from Kathmandu or Pokhara, which include bird-watching walks, elephant rides, boat trips, accommodation and meals at the tented camps inside the park and transfers from Biratnagar airport. There are few facilities for independent travellers.