Site description The farmlands of Rupandehi and Kapilvastu districts encompass a large rural area where agriculture is the main land use (68%) followed by forests which cover 21.6% of the area. There are plains in the south and dry bhabar and Churia Hills to the north. A number of perennial and seasonal rivers and streams including the Telar, Tinau, Sundi and Dano river systems flow through the area. The forest, scrub, wetlands and grasslands surrounding Lumbini (the birthplace of Lord Buddha) are an especially important refuge for wildlife.
Key Biodiversity This area has the best known population of the globally threatened Sarus Crane in Nepal and is the only known site in the country where the species breeds regularly. The resident and migrant populations of Sarus and their breeding are regularly monitored (e.g. Suwal 2002). In 2000 a biodiversity assessment found 210 bird species in Rupandehi district. A total of eight globally threatened birds have been recorded here including White-rumped Vulture and Indian Spotted Eagle Aquila hastata that both breed, and also Slender-billed Vulture, Cinereous Vulture and Lesser Adjutant that are all seen regularly (Suwal 2002). The Telar and Dano floodplains are recognised as important habitats for birdlife (Bhandari 1998). There are areas of tropical dry forests that are known to support significant populations of characteristic species of the Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone biome.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammal species include the globally threatened Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus (which was introduced here), Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicallata and Striped Hyaena Hyaena hyaena. Other mammals include Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Bengal Fox Vulpes bengalensis, Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula, Chital Axis axis, Indian muntjac Muntiacus muntjak and Leopard Panthera pardus. There is a plan to reintroduce the globally threatened Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra.