Satchari National Park - An Eco-Tourism Delight
Located about 130 kilometers north-east of Dhaka, in the Hobigonj District of Bangladesh, the Satchari National Park is one of the five protected areas being developed by the Forest Department as part of a co-managed eco-tourism project under its Nishorgo initiative. Together with local communities, Nishorgo aims to preserve the incredible bio-diversity of the area with one of its objectives being to attract tourists, which in turn will benefit the local communities.
A kiosk at the Satchari National Park provides information with regard to the flora and fauna of the park, a map of the walking trails, and can direct visitors to one of the trained eco-tour guides. Visitors can explore the area without the assistance of a guide; however, the guides know where the best spots are and can direct visitors to areas according to their interests. For example, Satchari National Park is considered to be one of the best birding destinations in Bangladesh and the eco-tour guides can direct birding enthusiasts to areas where they are most likely to catch sight of resident Red Jungle Fowl, Red-headed Trogon, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Pygmy Woodpecker and much more.
The name Satchari means “seven streams”, being a reference to the streams flowing through the park, providing plentiful water for the lush semi evergreen forests and other flora, as well as the many animals resident in the park. Part of the park was at one time planted with eucalyptus and acacia trees, many of which still remain. Satchari National Park is home to the critically endangered Hoolock Gibbon. Both the male and female of these fascinating primates are distinguished by the white rings around their eyes and mouth, but the males are black colored with white eyebrows, while the females have grey-brown fur that is slightly darker in the chest and neck area. Another resident primate is the Phayre’s Leaf Monkey, a species of Langur, which is not considered to be endangered.
The village of Tiprapara, which is inhabited by 23 households, lies within the Satchari National Park. It was originally established to accommodate laborers at the cultivated forest plantations. Successful ecotourism can assist settlements such as Tiprapara, where household income is limited. Visitors to the Satchari National Park will not only enjoy nature at its very best, but can have the satisfaction of knowing that their visit has contributed to the upliftment of communities in the area.