Established in 1976 with an area of 106 sq. km., Rara National Park is located in northwester Nepal about 371 km. air distance from Kathmandu. Most of the park, including Lake Rara, lies in Mugu District; a small area is in Jumla District of Karnali Zone. It is the smallest national park in Nepal and contains the country's largest lake (Rara Lake, 10.8 sq. km) at an elevation of 2990m.
Park elevations range from 1800 m. to 4048 m. The park contains mainly coniferous forest. The area around the lake is dominated by blue pine, black juniper, West Himalayan spruce, oak, Himalayan cypress and other similar species.
At about 3350 m., pine and spruce give way to fir, oak and birch. Deciduous tree species like Indian horse-chestnut, walnut and Himalayan poplar are also found at this elevation.
A small portion of the park serves as an ideal habitat for musk deer. Other animals found in the park include Himalayan black bear, leopard, goral, Himalayan tahr, and wild boar.
Snow trout is the only fish species recorded in the lake. Resident Gallinaceous birds and migrant waterfowl are of interest to park visitors. The great-crested grebe, black-necked grebe, and red-crested pochard are seen during winter. Other common birds are the snowcock, chukor partridge, Impeyan pheasant (Nepal's national bird), kalij pheasant, and blood pheasant.
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