The Beautiful Himchari National Park

Bangladesh is not the only country to receive opprobrium from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, for its declining forest cover. Most countries of the third world face such conflicts between development and conservation. However, it is to the credit of the Bangladesh Government that it has committed itself to a National Forest Policy.

The Himchari National Park is a beautiful tropical rain forest, which is very near the town of Cox’s Bazar, and which is protected and maintained for the people of Bangladesh and for visitors from abroad as well. The park has high forest, low forest and grasslands with a few trees. Some of the grasslands may be areas which were encroached upon before the Park was fully regulated. Though the Bay of Bengal is not far away, Himchari does not have any inter-tidal habitats.

The Himchari Natural Park is a biologist’s delight! There are more than 50 species of trees, including Grewia microcos, Dipterocarpus turbinatus, Vitex pedurcularis, and Pterospermum acerifolium. The forest area has some twenty types of important herbs, amongst which Swintonia floribunda, Curculigo recurvata, and Alpinia nigra are most valuable.

Every bird watcher would love to visit the Himchari National Park, because more than 250 species can be sighted here. Hirundo rustica, Cypsiurrus parvus, and Acridotheres fuscus, are some of the common sightings which birders can notch up on their lists. The forest and the grasslands also support lizards and frogs in large numbers and variety. There are some herds of elephants and other wildlife as well in these tracks. The United States has an agreement with Bangladesh to try and induct tigers in to the forest areas. Leopards are in the forest area already. A waterfall is another attraction for tourists who may have only passing interests in the amazing array of flora and fauna on display.

Cox’s Bazar is a popular sea resort, and is connected by air from both Dhaka and Chittagong. Do plan a day for Himchari when you visit the area, and more time if you are a nature lover!