Madhupur National Park, Tangail

Home of the beautiful capped langur monkey, wild boar, barking deer and a galaxy of bird species the Madhupur (mode-uh-poor) National Park, covering around 8500 hectares, is one of the last remaining patches of old-growth Sal forest left in the country. In addition to it’s abundant wildlife, the park also provides a home to the Mandi tribal peoples whom you are almost certain to encounter.

This area was once famous for tigers, unfortunately this was during the days when it was thought that tigers looked much better hung on the wall than in the forest, and they have long since been wiped out. Now, explorations of the forest will likely turn up some rhesus macaque, golden-coloured capped langurs and small herds of gorgeous spotted deer. There are also three species of civets here. Madhupur will turn twitchers twitchy as it’s one of the country’s finest birding locales. There are numerous species, but serious bird-watchers will be most interested in spotting the dusky owl, the brown fish owl, the spotted eagle owl and the famous brown wood owl, which is a speciality of the forest.

For many years the forest was used and abused by all and sundry, and though this continues, things are starting to improve thanks to government investment. For the moment, despite the presence of marked trails on the forest-office brochures, many locals (and forestry workers), citing bandits, will insist that is far too dangerous for you to explore the forest on your own. While there might be some truth to this, it’s more likely that they don’t want you stumbling into any of the ­illegal logging operations taking place here.

However, take solace in the fact that though the official walking trials are still effectively off-limits, there is still a decent amount of wildlife to be found just by walking around the main routes (little more than empty mud trails linking up villages). One excellent day walk is the roundtrip from the forest resthouse to the ‘zoo’ halfway along the Raslpur-Chandar road in the hamlet of Laharina. Don’t be put off by the word zoo, as it’s more a feeding station for wild animals. The most frequent visitors are the spotted deer and rhesus macaque (who are near enough guaranteed to be hanging around). All up it’s a 10km roundtrip walk for which you’ll need a guide – ask at the Forest Resthouse.

The District Forestry Office (53524) for Madhupur National Park is in Tangail.

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