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 Lesson 17: Flora and Fauna of Nepal 

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Tahr, or a Himalayan mountain goat. 

Flora and Fauna of Nepal (Click here for more information on Flora and Fauna of Nepal.) Further Reference Microsoft Encarta 99 – Find: Image - Calendula

Objective: The students will be able to identify some of the flora and fauna that are found in Nepal. The students will compare the flora and fauna on Nepal to the flora and fauna found in the United States

Guided Practice:

1. Brainstorm with the class examples of flora and fauna that are typical to the United States. Write the responses on the chalkboard. Tell the class that today they are going to be studying the flora and fauna of Nepal.
2. Have the students read the paragraphs on the flora and fauna of Nepal either orally or silently. Discuss the reading restating the key ideas.
3. Show pictures of different types of Nepalese flora and fauna.

Independent Practice:

1. Read the paragraphs on the flora and fauna of Nepal and answer the questions.
2. Select a plant or an animal that is found in Nepal and research information on that particular species. Sketch a picture of your species and include interest information below the drawing.

Optional Extensions:

1. Choose a climate zone of Nepal (tropic, sub-tropic, alpine) and create a food web of that area.
2. Research any parks or wildlife reserves that are in Nepal. Find out where they are and how they are helping the plants and animals of Nepal.

Reading and Questions:

Nepal, as we have discovered, is not only a diverse country in terms of its landscape, but also the people that reside here. The flora and fauna of Nepal are quite diverse as well. There are many similar plant and animals in Nepal that are similar to those in the United States.

The flora of Nepal contains trees that are conifers or deciduous. Oaks, blue pine, birch, magnolia, and the spruce are some of the examples of trees you could find. The rhododendron, orchids, bamboo, and nettle plants can be found in the United States, but in Nepal, these plants have some unique qualities.

The national flower of Nepal is the rhododendron. These plants can be found growing in altitudes from 3,600 feet to 8,200 feet. As the altitude rises, the color of the rhododendron begins to fade. A rhododendron that is red at 3,600 feet, will go from a pink to white color at the higher elevations. These plants are found in a variety of colors from white, purple, red, cream, and lilac. At altitudes of 18,000 feet a dwarf species of rhododendrons can be found. These dwarf plants only grow to be two inches tall.

In Nepal, you can find 319 species of orchids and 20 species of bamboo. Orchids grow in the tropic and sub-tropic climate zones.  The orchid is protected by law and it is unlawful to take them out of the country. The bamboo plant is used in a variety of ways for the people of Nepal. Baskets, mats, cradles, and even bows and arrows are made from the bamboo plant.

Nettles are an extremely important plant in Nepal. These plants may grow to 10 feet in height, and are found in altitudes of 5,000 to10,000 feet. The nettle's leaves are rough and sharp. When the leaves are touched, they give off quite a sting. The younger leaves of the nettle plant are used as a vegetable. Nepalese people will use the fibers of the stem of a nettle plant for a variety of things. To make the fibers usable you must strip of the bark, soak the fibers, pound them, boil the fibers, and spin them into yarn. This whole process takes at least four weeks. Once the fibers have been treated, they are used to make cloth.

The fauna of Nepal contains some unique qualities as well. There are more than 614 species of butterflies and 11 out of the 15 families. The swallowtail butterflies that are found in the Terai are the most impressive species. In Nepal, you will also find more than 5,000 species of moths. There are so many moths that some have not even been described by scientists. The world's largest moth, the giant atlas moth, is found in Nepal. The wingspan of this moth is almost one foot in length.

Nepal is a bird watcher's paradise. There are more than 800 species of birds, representative of approximately 10 percent of the earth's birds. Many are found in the Terai. Some birds that you would see in Nepal are the golden eagle, mountain finches, blood pheasant, the brown parrotbill, and the rufous-bellied shrike babbler.

Elephants, rhinoceros, and tigers are found in the Terai. Brown bears and black bears are found in higher altitudes. These bears are often hunted and the gall bladders are used in some Chinese medicines. Blue sheep live above the tree line at 13,000 to 16,500 feet. Another animal that lives in this high altitude is the snow leopard. Snow leopards have been hunted for their beautiful fur. The snow leopard often will eat sheep or yaks.

1. Why is the nettle plant important to the Nepalese people?
2. Why does the Terai seem to have more flora and fauna than the rest of Nepal (recall the lesson on the regions of Nepal)?
3. Compare the flora and fauna of Nepal to the flora and fauna of the United States.


Lisa Choegyal, Insight Guides Nepal, Langenscheidt Publishers Inc., New York, 11378, p. 39-43.

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