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Rara National Park, the smallest protected area in Nepal lies in the northwest of the country in Mugu and Jumla districts. Lake Rara, Nepal’s largest lake,, is the most prominent feature in this national park; it has an area of 1036ha and has a maximum depth of 167m. Rooted vegetation is confined entirely to the margins and is patchy in distribution as the rocky edges of the lake shelve steeply in places (Barber 1990). Forest types comprise upper temperate Pinus wallichiana (sometimes mixed with Quercus semecarpifolia) and Juniperus spp., and subalpine forests of Abies spectabilis, Betula utilis, Juniperus spp. and Rhododendron spp. (Inskipp 1989a). Except for a moist marshland on the south shore of the lake the pastures are mainly tussock grasslands on the ridges and above the tree-line (Barber (1990).
A total of 235 has been recorded (Giri 2005), but the park is very under-recorded. The national park could be especially important for Cheer Pheasant, a globally threatened and restricted-range species; a survey for the species in the park is being carried out in spring 2005 (Budthapa in prep.). The park is also important for White-throated Tit and Kashmir Nuthatch, two other restricted-range species from the Western EBA, which are both resident in the park. The lake is a valuable staging post for migrating wetland birds; around 40 species have been recorded so far, although only small numbers are involved. Rara National Park has large temperate forest and alpine zone areas. These support significant populations of characteristic species of the Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest and Eurasian High Montane biomes respectively.
Non-bird biodiversity: Globally threatened mammals include the Red Panda Ailurus fulgens, Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus and Himalayan Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster (Hilton-Taylor 2000). The lake has some endemic fish species (Prof. Jiwan Shrestha verbally 2000).
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rara National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/10/2019.