The first national park of Nepal is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, and is home to some of the most endangered species of animal.
Chitwan National Park was established in 1973 and was listed in the World Heritage Sites in 1984. Spanning over 932 km2 in the sub-tropical region of Nepal, the park covers four different districts, namely; Nawalparasi, Parsa, Chitwan & Makwanpur.
The southern plains of Nepal is known for its lush green vegetation, variety of yielding crops and wildlife. More than 150,000 tourists visit the park annually. It has a tropical monsoon weather which permits regular rainfall in the area throughout the year.
The various outdoor activities and quality lodges inside the park offers much fun for the incoming visitors. Some of the popular destinations in the area are; Elephant breeding center, Bishazari Tal, ethnic Tharu village and Sauraha. You can enjoy elephant safari, jungle walk, jeep ride, boating on Rapti river, overnight stay inside the forest and even camel ride during the tour.
You can choose to extend your regular trip with a 2-3 days tour of the Chitwan whenever you visit Nepal.
Though, the forest has been under protection for decades, the darker past of Nepal still has its tales to tell. The massive hunting expeditions organized by royals members of Nepal, officers of British empire and other hunting enthusiasts during the 19-20th century caused most of the mass depletion of some of the exquisite animals from the region.
The mass poaching since 1950 has also caused the major depletion of One-horned Rhino and Royal Bengal Tiger in an alarming rate.
In 1950, Chitwan grasslands and forests spanned over 2,600 km2, however, due to rampant settlement in the area the forest has been dwindled in alarming rate. After the ruling of the first conservation law of the country, the forest and wildlife lying inside the territory has been kept protected from the settlements.
The year 2016 marked the Zero Poaching for two consecutive years in Nepal, with not a single poaching of the endangered species were recorded.
Chitwan boasts more than 700 species of wildlife and a not yet fully surveyed number of butterfly, moth and insect species. Apart from king cobra and rock python, 17 other species of snakes, starred tortoise and monitor lizards occur.
The Narayani-Rapti river system, their small tributaries and myriads of oxbow lakes is habitat for 113 recorded species of fish and mugger crocodiles. It is home to 68 species of mammals, including; Royal Bengal Tiger, One-horned Rhino, Sloth beer, Asiatic elephant, Bengal fox, Honey badgers, golden jackals and more.
Over 546 species of birds were recorded to be seen by the birders and conservationists in 2006.