Bardia, which is the Tharu word for ‘herdsman,’ is one of the last remaining wildernesses of Nepal. But it is peerless in that it’s a place where wildlife is the most talked about topic. Guides talking to each other ask more about tigers and rhinos than about their families. It is a unique fact but not totally surprising given that Bardia boasts of an impressive 37 mammals, most of them too beautiful or too elusive to remain out of your mind even when they are not in sight. These include the big three: Royal Bengal Tiger, Asian elephant, and One-horned rhinoceros. Deer species are well represented by chital (spotted deer), hog deer, and the barking deer. Another resident is the four-horned antelope and Nilgai, or blue bull, the largest antelope species in the sub-continent.  

    Bardia National Park

    Bardia National Park is the largest national park and wilderness area in the Terai and has excellent wildlife-watching opportunities. The park protects 968 sq km of sal forest and grassland, and together with the new 550 sq km Banke National Park it protects one of Asia’s largest stretches of tiger habitat. That’s a lot of habitat, but even though tiger numbers are increasing after their recent demise during the Maoist insurgency, you’ll still need exceptionally good luck to see one here.
    There are also healthy populations of wild elephants and one-horned rhinos among the 30 species of mammals living here. Bardia also has more than 250 species of birds, including the endangered Bengal florican and sarus crane. Gharial and marsh mugger crocodiles and Gangetic dolphins are occasionally spotted on rafting and canoe trips along the Geruwa River, the eastern channel of the Karnali River.