Sagamatha National Park
Sagarmāthā National Park is a protected area in the Himalayas of eastern Nepal that is dominated by Mt Everest. It encompasses an area of 1,148 km² (443 Sq mi) and ranges in elevation from 2,845 m (9,334 ft) to 8,848 m (29,029 ft) at the summit of Mt Everest. The park was established in 1976 and in 1979 was created a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Most of the park area is very rugged and steep and the terrain is cut by deep rivers and glaciers. The area is very young geologically and erosion has yet to soften its form. Barren land in the nival zone above 5,000 m (16,000 ft) makes up 69% of the park while 28% is grazing land and the remaining 3% is forested. This lower forested zone supports large trees such as birch, juniper, blue pines and firs as well as bamboo and rhododendron. As the altitude increases the height of the vegetation decreases. The forests provide habitat to over 100 species of bids and are also home to rare animal species such as the musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear and red panda as well as Himalayan tahrs (related to wild goats), langur monkeys, martens and Himalayan wolves.
Sagarmāthā National Park is also home to about 6000 Sherpas. They moved there from Tibet some 500 years ago and keep up their distinct traditions and Tibetan-Buddhist religion.
Sagarmāthā is a Nepali word derived from sagar meaning ‘sky’ and māthā meaning ‘head’.