Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve

Year of compilation: 2005

Site description (baseline)
Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve lies in the Baglung district of Dhawalagiri Himalayan range. It is the only hunting reserve in Nepal and was primarily established to cater for the needs of sport hunting and for the conservation of representatives of temperate, subalpine and alpine ecosystems of west Nepal. This reserve is characterized by alpine, sub-alpine and temperate vegetation. Oaks Quercus lanata and Q. semecarpifolia form well developed stands at the reserve’s lower elevations in more moist and shaded areas. The other common tree species are fir Abies pindrow, birch Betula utilis, spruce Picea smithiana, juniper Juniperus recurva, pine Pinus wallichiana, hemlock Tsuga dumosa, rhododendron Rhododendron spp. and other alpine shrubs. There are flat meadows above the tree line.

Key biodiversity
A total of 164 species has been recorded, but no systematic survey of the reserve’s avifauna has been undertaken and more species are likely to be found (Inskipp 1989a). The reserve has by far the largest known stronghold of Cheer Pheasant in Nepal. A 2003 survey estimated a population of 127-212 birds (Subedi 2003a,b); there had only been a marginal and statistically insignificant decline in Cheer population since the previous survey 22 years before (Lelliot 1982). There are large areas of temperate forests and alpine vegetation, so the reserve is likely to support significant populations of characteristic species of the Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest and Eurasian High Montane biomes.

Non-bird biodiversity: A number of globally threatened mammals occur including Red Panda Ailurus fulgens, Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Snow Leopard Uncia uncia, Himalayan Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster, Himalayan Tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus, Serow Capricornis sumatraensis and Grey Wolf Canis lupus.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Scattered or grouped summer settlements are located on the northern and southern slopes of the Uttarganga river valley. After the reserve’s establishment in 1983, the traditional practices of shifting cultivation were completely stopped. Local people mainly grow potatoes and other crops, such as wheat and maize in spring and summer, and graze livestock. They collect firewood for cooking, leaf litter and also medicinal plants both for their own use as well as for sale, to supplement their otherwise subsistence living. Local people lop trees, mainly oaks Quercus spp., to feed their livestock in early spring. Some of the villagers illegally occupy communal grazing land to cultivate crops. Major human disturbances are pheasant and mammal trapping and/or hunting, overgrazing, over-collection of forest resources and occasional burning. Human disturbance is at its maximum in summer and its minimum in winter (Subedi 2003b). The local people lack awareness about sustainable natural resource use in and around the reserve. Although there are well trained park staff, they suffer from lack of resources compared to staff in more accessible protected areas. In response the WWF Nepal Program has included the reserve in their Northern Mountains Conservation Project that aims to manage natural resources and raise the standard of living of local people (WWF Nepal Program 2000a, b, WWF Nepal Program undated a). Several game species can be hunted under licence issued by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, HMG.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve. Downloaded from on 02/06/2023.