Chitwan national park Covering an area of 932 sq km (360 sq miles) extending in three inner Terai districts of Nawalparasi, Chitwan and Makawanpur. Chitwan National park after being established in 1973, the first in Nepal as an attempt to conserve the home of the endangered Rhino and Tiger became a part of the World Natural Heritage in 1984.The national park consists of grasslands, thick forests adjacent to the Parsa Wildlife Reserve and linking with the Valmiki National Park as far as India.This wild playground has been the home to various species of wild animals, vegetation, migratory and indigenous birds and a rich variety of marine life sharing amongst them.
The park is bordered by Narayani and Rapti rivers restricting human intrusion while there are a lot of small beautiful lakes proximate to the National Park aiding to the marine,wild as well as aerial life. The tourist life in the park is mainly attributed to the natural diversity of the park and tranquility of the indigenous Tharu community residing in the Meghauli village near the park. Another major attraction has been the life in Sauraha attracting the majority of tourists with many interesting activities. The Tharu community who are believed to have migrated from the That desert of India are different type of community whose passion for arts and crafts can be witnessed on the paintings in their houses, beautiful ladies accessorized by handcrafted ornaments and tribal dresses while the men lure in a captivating cultural dance sharing with the women playing ethnic musical instruments made from animal hyde exhibiting the hunting, dancing and other skills of the culturally rich, unique and diverse community.
Flora and Fauna:
The vegetation comprises of Himalayan Subtropical broadleaf forests consisting mainly of 70% sal trees along with Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands attributing 20% of the park extending from beleric, rosewood, axle wood, elephant apple, grey downey balsam, rhino apple, kapok, elephant grass-the tallest grass in the world, kans grass and khagra reed. The richness and vastness of the vegetation in the park makes the park an ideal sanctuary of over 700 species of wildlife, an unsurveyed number of butterfly, moth and other insect species. 17 different species of reptiles, tortoise and monitor lizards are abundant in the park of which excluding the King cobra and Rock Python. The Naryani Rapti river system, their respective tribunals and myriads of oxbow lakes has been the habitat of more than 113 species of fish, Mugger Crocodiles and Ghariyals roaming wild lurking in theses aqua marine ecosystem. The number of crocodiles and Ghariyals took a descent after being poached for their skin as a result of which the Ghariyal Conservation Project was introduced to conserve and promote the number of Ghariyals in the national park by collecting the eggs during breeding season from the river and breeding them in the breeding center at the park, Although the project has been very helpful in increasing the number of Ghariyals from just 38 in 2003, the consevation of Ghariyal still faces the challenge as a lot of these young Ghariyals have hard time facing the adversities of wild. Chitwan national park inhibits at least 43 species of mammals most notable of which are the kings of the Jungle The Bengal Tiger and the endangered one horned Rhino. The rich graslland and alluvial floodplain of the Terai proves Chitwan National Park as one of the best habitats in all over the world. The incline in number of tiger from just 25 when the park was established to a staggering 110 in 1980 averaging a density of 6 females per 100 sq km with an abundance of at least 82 breeding tigers. The population of tiger also has been the victim of illegal poaching for their skin during the last decades of the century, however, after the establishment of park and the efforts of several locals and the government intervention as well as active international agencies the number of tigers in the park has reached optimistically high.
Another majestic member of the park family is the endangered Rhinoceros. The rhino having suffered the atrocities of being ruthlessly poached during the ’70 s for their horn are now preserved and already reached more than 500 during the turn of the century. However just to avoid the wraths of unforeseen epidemics to ensure the survival of this endangered species they are translocated annually to Bardia National park and Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve. The Rhinos have always been on the epitome of the ultimate poaching list due to excessive demand of its horn. Recent awareness and strict intervention of national as well as international laws have made poaching as well as movement of these kinds of goods have somewhat restricted the illegal poaching but much is required to ensure the survival of such beautiful creatures. Other than these leopards and sloth bears are also the dominant members and predators in the park co-existing with the tigers, however,are seen very low in the prime tiger habitats and mostly active during night. The park is also the home to hyenas, various kinds of wild cats, mongoose, jackals and numerous other animals. Birds Moderate temperature, abundance of food, alluvial grasslands and luring climatic conditions makes Chitwan National Park a sound home for more than 550 different species of indigenous as well as migratory birds making their way as far as from Siberia. This little piece of paradise has been a sanctuary and destination for different kinds of endangered species of beautiful birds not only in winter but also in summer which is why it is known as the mecca for bird watchers, conservationists and researchers all over the world. The population of different species of birds is higher here than anywhere else in any conservation ares in Nepal amounting to two thirds of Globally endangered species.
Globally threatened birds like black chinned yuhina, Gould’s sunbird, blossom headed parakeet, Bengal florican, lesser adjutant, grey crowned pinia make way and find shelter here. It has been the breeding centre for the globally threatened spotted eagle along with Eastern Imperial eagle and Pallias’s Fish Eagle. Many other different species of birds make their way from north in the winter when it is very cold to survive in their original habitats and its warm and fluffy in Chitwan. The park is in constant traffic of birds as no sooner the winter birds from the north leave, the park starts echoing with the songs of cuckoos in the spring from the south.
These are just a few things of many that the Chitwan tour has to offer. An exquisite ride on the elephant back and the jungle safari only to find yourself a step close to nature and its divine gifts to mankind while at the end of the safari taking a bath from the elephant itself will be an experience of a lifetime. How many times in life will you get to ride on one of the world’s biggest mammals to watch the Bengal Tiger- another fierce yet marvelous creature known as the king of the jungle within a few paces from yourself only to be amazed and bewildered at the sight of one horned rhino found only in the forests of Nepal. It is the perfect combination of getting your acquaintance with the nature and embracing the greatness of it while having the time of your lives.