Makalu Barun National Park and Conservation Area
Established in 1992 as eastern extension of the Sagarmatha National Park in the Himalayas of Nepal, Makalu Barun National Park is the eighth national park in the Himalayas of Nepal covering an area of 1,500km2 in Solukhumbu and Sankhuwasabha district. It is the only protection area in the world that consists of tropical forest as well as snow-capped peaks.
Its northern border overlaps the international border to the Tibet Autonomous Region and its southern and southeastern border is close to the buffer zone Makalu Barun Conservation Area covering an area of 830km2. The national park accommodates the fifth highest mountain of the world, Makalu, standing proudly at the height of 8,463m along with Chamalang (7,319m), Baruntse (7,129m) and Mera (6,654m) peaks.
The idea of conserving the cultural and biological features of Makalu Barun area was initiated in the 1984 by the then president of The Mountain Institute Daniel C. Taylor after his two decades long search for the Yeti. However, the prints allegedly believe to be of Yeti belonged to young Asiatic Black Bear.
Later, an extensive ecosystem fieldwork was conducted by the institute that was led by Taylor, Fleming and a Nepali botanist Tirtha Shrestha. Formal proposals were made directly to the Late King Birendra from that fieldwork, who authorized a task force under Nepal’s Department of National Parks to prepare a management plan in 1985. The plans were finished in 1990 and the national park was declared in 1991. In 1999, the park became the first to include a conservation area adjacent to it after the buffer zone was declared. Sherpa, Rai, Gurung, Tamang, Newar, Brahmin and Chhetri reside in the twelve Village Development Committees in the area.
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation administrates the park and the conservation area and also encourage the local’s participation in the conservation and preservation programs.
Makalu Barun National Park and Conservation Area is rich in ecosystem with around 3, 128 species of flowering plants including 25 of Nepal’s 30 varieties of rhododendron, 48 primroses, 47 orchids, 19 bamboos, 15 oaks, 86 fodder trees and 67 economically valuable aromatic and medical plants are recorded. The area is also a habitat for number of faunal species including 315 species of butterflies, 43 species of reptiles, 16 species of amphibians and around 78 species of fish are found in the ponds, lakes and rivers here. It is a paradise of bird lovers as it accommodates 440 species of birds including eagles, raptors, white-necked storks, colorful sunbirds and also 16 rare bird species including rose-ringed parakeet, Blyth’s kingfisher, deep-blue kingfisher, paleblue, blue-naped pitta, Sultan tit, flycatcher, silver-eared mesia and the white-naped vuhina. There are 88 species of mammals including snow leopard, jungle cat, Himalayan wolf, red fox, red panda, Hanuman Langur, Assam macaque, barking deer, muntjak, otters, weasel and the serow.
You could also trek to the national park and conservation area and the trekkers are allowed to camp on the seven campsites designated along the trek route for the tourist.
Makalu Barun National Park and Conservation Area is a true heaven for the nature lovers who enjoy indulging themselves in bird-watching, observation of wildlife and camping.