Shuklaphanta, the country’s youngest national park, was established as a hunting reserve in 1969 and gazetted as a wildlife reserve in 1976 with the primary objective to conserve swamp deer. The Shuklaphanta National Park currently hosts about 2,000 swamp deer (the single largest herd in the world), and an estimated 17 wild tigers. The name Suklaphanta was derived from one of the grasslands found inside the protected area. The main grassland called SuklaPhanta is the largest patch of continuous grassland in Nepal covering an area of about 16 km2 (6.2 sq mi).
The jungles of the Shuklaphanta National Park were once the site of an ancient kingdom. To this day, the ruins of that kingdom can be seen in some places. Near Rani Tal, a lake in the reserve, there still remains a brick girdle, measuring 1,500 m (59,000 in) in circumference. It is considered by locals to be a remnant of the fort of Tharu king Singhal.
46 rare mammal species, of which 18 are protected under CITES such as the Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, sloth bear, swamp deer, elephant, and hispid hare are residents in this area. Great one-horned rhinoceros were translocated from Chitwan National Park to establish a third viable population in the country. A total of 423 bird species has been recorded. The park supports the highest population of Bengal floricans in Nepal.
The great majority of the land, particularly in the hills, remains unvisited and therefore undisturbed. This is ideal for wildlife, and also preserves an element of mystery for humans; because large areas are still unexplored, our knowledge of what birds and animals the park contain is by no means finalized, and there is always the possibility of making new discoveries.
There are air links from Kathmandu via Nepalgunj to the nearby Mahendranagar airport. There is a bus service from Nepalgunj and Kathmandu. The best time to visit from October to April.