Shivapuri National Park lies on the northern side of the Kathmandu Valley, only about 12 km from the capital. Shivapuri was established as a wildlife reserve in 1985 but measures for its protection were initiated as early as 1975 under the Shivapuri Watershed Development Board. It was designated a national park in 2003. Shivapuri (2730 m) is the second highest mountain that surrounds the Kathmandu Valley. It is the main source of the rivers Bagmati and Vishnumati that flow from the southern slopes of the mountain; streams on the northern slopes drain into the Likhu Khola.
About 50% of the park remains forested. The lower slopes are extensively covered by scrub. Chir Pine Pinus roxburghii is the dominant tree species in the subtropical zone although other species are present, mainly Alnus nepalensis, Castanopsis indica and Schima wallichii. The northern slopes are dominated by these broadleaved trees at lower elevations and some scrub. Quercus lanata is the main tree species in the lower temperate zone, but little remains and this is badly degraded. Higher up in the upper temperate zone the mountain is densely vegetated with Quercus semecarpifolia.
A total of 178 species has been recorded in Shivapuri (Inskipp 1989a), but many more are likely to occur. The park has good populations of Spiny Babbler and Hoary-throated Barwing, two restricted-range species. There are large areas of temperate forest, which support significant populations of species characteristic of the Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest biome.
Non-bird biodiversity: Shivapuri is the only site in Nepal for the globally threatened Relict Himalayan Dragonfly Epiophlebia laidlawi. No other globally threatened animals are known to occur. Mammals recorded include Hanuman Langur Seemnopithecus entellus, Leopard Panthera pardus, and Indian Muntjac Muntiacus muntjak.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Shivapuri's forests on the lower slopes, have suffered from heavy exploitation and are much degraded. Tree cover is replaced by dense scrub over large areas on the southern side of the mountain. The upper temperate Quercus semecarpifolia forest on the upper slopes is in much better condition however. The southern slopes are rather unstable, resulting in some erosion problems. Although the park is close to Kathmandu, it is still one of the least visited protected areas in Nepal. Lack of infrastructure for tourism and poor road conditions have kept most of the visitors away and have resulted in the park being one of the most poorly known ornithologically. It is the only protected area in Nepal that is demarcated by a boundary wall that is 114km long. A management plan is currently being prepared by the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation and this NGO may take over management of the national park in the foreseeable future.