Before Nepal became known across the world as the highest per capita consumer of instant noodles (Sponsor’s announcement: “Each pack is wrapped in high grade single-use plastic that will take 10,000 years to self-destruct) we used to be renowned for the diversity of our fora, fauna and fanatics.
From political invertebrates in our Animal ex-Kingdom, to the business carnivores that populate the Tarai Arc Landscape, Nepal’s fauna is no longer on the endangered list. But that is not to say that we can be complacent, we have to be vigilant and be able to recognise a Greater Himalayan Red-vented Twit when we see one. We should be equally at home in the Singha Darbar Lion Sanctuary and Bagh Darbar Tiger Reserve. Below is a useful guide for wildlife enthusiasts that can be cut out for easy reference:
Grey Langur (Bandar seri bhagawan): Handsome and clever, solitary and without scruples, spends much time foraging for juicy contracts. Believes in give and take, but mostly take. Habit: marks the perimeter of his domain by spitting red pan juice along the corridors of power.
Himalayan Red Panda (Habray nepalensis rosso): Shy and reclusive, resides on the jungle canopy with occasional forays to the undergrowth to dig for hidden wealth. Once thought to be nearly extinct, but has made a dramatic comeback lately. Range: Everywhere, but nowhere.
Wild Boar (Sus ad nauseum): Endemic inside the Ringworm Road. Has special powers to knock people unconscious at 10 paces. Habits: such a wild bore, he himself falls asleep while giving speeches at book launches.
Barking Deer (Cervidae politicus): Garrulous, with loud hooting call to magnify its stature. Mobile and mischievous, commonly found addressing large gatherings. Diet: Voracious appetite, can even gobble hard cash.
Lesser Eurasian Red Herring(Pisces maobadinsis): Hunts at night, scavenging bottom-feeder with strong jaws, has an extreme fringe that is famed for its whooping, blood-curdling cry of “Big Plop! Big Plop!”. Habitat: Semi-underground, surfaces briefly during bands.
Sloth bear (Ursidae soporificus): Indolent and sluggish, sleeps during the day with head on desk at Singha Darbar, emitting distinctive snore. Approach with care, can be vicious if disturbed. Diet: Copious amounts of tea between naps.
Wild ass(Equus heehaw): Presents to be asinine, but is asstute. Prone to writing utter nonsense in a weekly column.