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Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park, often referred to as the “Heart of the Jungle” in Nepal, has a rich history deeply intertwined with its transformation into a renowned wildlife sanctuary. In the annals of jungle history, it was once a favored hunting ground for the royal families of Nepal, who would extend invitations to Indian and British dignitaries for grand hunting expeditions within the park’s expanse. Unfortunately, this led to a substantial decline in the populations of iconic species such as rhinoceroses, bears, tigers, and leopards due to rampant hunting.


Recognizing the urgent need for conservation and protection of its unique biodiversity, the Nepalese government assumed responsibility and initiated concerted efforts. As a culmination of these endeavors, Chitwan National Park was designated Nepal’s first national park in the year 1973. Its sprawling area now covers approximately 952.63 square kilometers, and it holds the prestigious distinction of being declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.


Situated in the south-central region of Nepal, the park stretches along the fertile floodplains of the Rapti, Reu, and Narayani rivers. Its predominant vegetation is characterized by a 70% dominance of Sal (Shorea robusta) forests, complemented by grasslands (10%), riverine forests (7%), mixed forests (7%), and wetlands (4%). This diverse matrix of habitats and climates has positioned Chitwan as a biodiversity hotspot of global significance. The park is also an integral component of the Tarai-Duar savanna and eco-region, listed among the 200 most vital in the world.


The park’s resources are not only vital for the conservation of wildlife but also play a crucial role in the livelihoods of local communities, who heavily rely on forest resources for agriculture and livestock.


Chitwan National Park boasts a remarkable array of wildlife, including 68 different mammal species, 646 species of birds, 47 types of reptiles, 150 butterfly species, 120 fish species, and more than 700 species of flora and fauna. Among its most captivating inhabitants are the one-horned rhinoceros, Royal Bengal tigers, wild elephants, sloth bears, Gaurs (Indian bison), and Gharial crocodiles.


Remarkably, Chitwan National Park is home to one of the world’s largest populations of one-horned rhinoceroses. According to the most recent census data from 2021, Nepal boasts a total rhino population of 752, with 694 of these magnificent creatures residing within the boundaries of Chitwan National Park. Furthermore, Nepal has achieved remarkable success in the global conservation effort for tigers, nearly tripling their numbers. The latest tiger and prey survey from 2022 reported the presence of 355 Bengal tigers in Nepal, with 128 of them thriving in Chitwan National Park. The park also hosts more than 250 sloth bears, 394 Gaurs, 45 wild elephants, 118 Gharial crocodiles, and numerous other species.


For travelers and nature enthusiasts, Chitwan National Park stands as one of Nepal’s premier destinations. It offers a captivating opportunity to witness the splendor of nature and wildlife up close, making it a perfect place to explore and appreciate the remarkable biodiversity that this sanctuary so diligently protects.