Established in 1973 with an area of 932 sq. km., Royal Chitwan National Park is the oldest national park in Nepal and is best-known internationally for wildlife safari. It is situated in the subtropical inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal. The park was designated a World Heritage Site in 1984.
The park covers a pristine area with a unique ecosystem of significant value to the world. It contains the Churia hills, ox-bow lakes and flood plains of Rapti, Reu and Narayani Rivers.
Approximately 70% of the park vegetation is sal forest. The remaining vegetation types include grassland (20%), riverine forest (7%), and sal with chir pine (3%), the latter occurring at the top of the Churia range. The riverine forests consist mainly of khair, sissoo and simal. The grasslands form a diverse and complex community with over 50 species. The Saccharum species, often called elephant grass, can reach 8 m. in height. The shorter grasses such as Imperata are useful for thatch roofs.
There are more than 43 species of mammals in the park. The park is especially renowned for the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, the tiger and the Gharial crocodile along with many other common species of wild animals. It also harbors other endangered species such as gaur, wild elephant, four-horned antelope, striped hyena, pangolin, Gangetic dolphin, monitor lizard and python.
Other animals found in the park include the sambar, chittal, hog deer, barking deer, sloth bear, palm civet, langur and rhesus monkey.
There are over 450 species of birds in the park. Among the endangered birds are the Bengal florican, giant hornbill, lesser florican, black stork and white stork. Common birds seen in the park include the peafowl, red jungle fowl, and different species of egrets, herons, kingfishers, flycatchers and woodpeckers. The best time for bird watching is March and December.
More than 45 species of amphibians and reptiles occur in the park, some of which are the march crocodiles, cobra, green pit viper and various species of frogs and tortoises.
The park is actively engaged in the scientific studies of several species of wild fauna and flora.
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Home page designed by Charles Lin ©1996
All photographs by Charles Lin ©1996