Royal Chitwan National Park

This is the first national Park established to preserve a unique ecosystem which has immense significance to the whole world. It contains 932 sq km and was established in 1973. It is situated in subtropical inner Terai lowlands of southern Central Part of Nepal in Chitwan District of Narayani zone. In 1984, considering the affluent wealth of flora and fauna, Royal Chitwan National Park was included in UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Formerly Chitwan Valley was well known all over the world as one of the most famous places in Asia for wildlife. It was covered with elephant grass (Sachharum spp.) or dense forest. There were few scattered settlements of the ethnic groups of Tharus who were original inhabitants and had some resistance to the deadly malaria. Other settlers were always away in this region due to fear of malaria.

However, wildlife declined in Chitwan and the cause for it was attributed to the resettlement of large number of hill people in the Chitwan Valley. Especially during 1950 a large number of wild people settled in the valley due to plighted economic condition in the hills. Malaria Eradication Programme was also carried and was triumphed,  consequensely there was no fear of malaria. Also to make the land appropriate for agriculture about three-quarters of forest and grassland was demolished.  Wild animals simmering  also diffused highly. Thus it was very difficult to recover wild life because their habitat was destroyed and declined drastically. In 1962, His Majesty`s Government of Nepal set the part of Chitwan Valley, south of Rapti river aside as a wildlife sanctuary. Hunting was banned and armed guards `Rhino Patrol` was established to protect the sanctuary from agricultural encroachment and poaching. These efforts prevented the situation from getting worse and stabilized the situation. However, there was great dearth of trained manpower. Despite of posting of armed guards poaching continued. Another threat of overgrazing of enumerating amount of domestic and stray cattle aroused. In 1973, the sanctuary became Royal Chitwan National Park with the assistance of HMG of Nepal and other International agencies. Encroachment, poaching and other problems were brought under control rapidly.

This park consists of Churia (Siwalik) hills, ox-bow lakes, flood plains of Rapti, Reu and Narayani rivers. The Churia hill rises slowly towards the east from 150m to more than 800m. The part of the park comprises of the lower but most rugged Someshwor hills. The flood plains of Chitwan Valley are rich alluvials. The boundaries of park have been delineated by the Narayani and Rapti rivers in the north and west and the Reu rivers and Someshwor hills in the south as well as southwest. It shares its eastern border with Parsa wildlife Reserve. From chitwan several majestic peaks of Annaurna (809-7219m), Manaslu(8163m), Himchuli(7893m) and other peaks of the Himalaya are visible in clear weather of autumn and winter.

There are about 45 species of mammals, Over 450 species of birds, about 100 species of reptiles and fishes including Mugger Crocodile, Gharial, python and a variety of amphibians, insects and other animal life in the Royal Chitwan National Park. This park holds the last surviving population of Asian One-horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) which are now about 500 in number. Mammalian species include Tiger (Panthera tigris), Leopard (Panthera paradus), Gaur bison (Bos gaurus), Sloth Bear (Ursus-Melursus ursinus), Sambar Deer (Cervus unicolor), Chital or Spotted Deer (Axis axis), Hog Deer (Axis porcinus), Barking Deer (Muntiacus muntjak), Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Elephant (Elephas maximus). Langur (Semnopithecus-Presbytis entellus) and Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) also abound in the park. Gangetic Dolphin (Platinista gangetica), which is a migratory mammal and ascend upstream has also been reported from Narayani and Karnali rivers of this National Park. Twenty three domesticated elephants are housed in the Government Hatisar and Sauraha and another 18 are domesticated in the newly established Elephant Breeding Centre at Koror (3 km from Sauraha). More than 45 species amphibians and reptiles are found in the Park. Reptiles are represented by several species of lizards and snakes. Marsh mugger and endangered gharial crocodiles are also represented. A breeding centre for the gharial crocodile (Gavialis gangeticus) has been established at the Park Headquarters at Kasara. By 1986 a total of 272 young gharials had been released into the rivers of Nepal. Some birds are Pea fowl (Pavo cristatus), Jungle fowl (Gallus gallus), Black partridge (Francolinus francolinus), pheasants, etc. During winter, the rivers of the parks provide resting grounds for many species of migratory waterfowls. Out of the mammals which live in the Park, Bengal Tiger (Felis tigris) and Great one-homed Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) deserve special mention. They can be easily seen by visitors sitting on the back of stealthy elephants who comb the grassland at dawn and dusk. Rhinos can be frequently sighted but tigers are rare to see if one is lucky then only he can see tiger face to face. The tiger population of the world was about 40, 000 but dwindled to about 3000 and in Nepal about 107 have been reported. Out of them 30 to 35 breeding adults are located in Chitwan Park. Tiger has strong territoriality. Need for abundant prey in this park has reached its optimum carrying capacity for supporting a healthy tiger population.

Rhinoceros is a big animal of Chitwan Park. Male measures about 1. 82 m. It has one horn while in related African and Sumatran Rhinos there are 2 horns. The horns are really mass of hair. Several myths and beliefs are attributed to the horns. Indians make a sexual stimulant from it. It is said a cup made of it distinguishes the Poisonous and non-poisonous wine. Chinese prepare a medicine from it. Out of about 1000 to 1500, one-horned rhinoceros in Nepal and India, about 500 live in Chitwan. In 1980, the number reduced to 100 but due to proper conservation and growth rate of 2-6 percent the animals increased to such a number that now they are shifted to other areas. Recently (1993) restriction has been imposed on presenting any Rhinoceros to zoos of other countries.

For bird watchers Chitwan is a paradise. About 450 species have been recorded from here.  Most colourful and common birds are king fishers (Ceryle sp, Alceds sp, Ceyx sp, Halcyon sp), bee-eaters (Merops sp), pea fowl (Pavo criststus), etc. During September to November and February to April the resident species of birds are augmented with migratory birds coming from breeding grounds as far as Siberia.

  Jungle Safari