Chitwan National Park Safari
Chitwan National Park is situated in south central Nepal in the sub-tropical lowlands of the inner terai of Chitwan, Makawanpur, Parsa and Nawalparasi districts. The altitude ranges from 110m to 850m above sea level and the park is bounded by the Rapti and Narayani River in the north, Parsa Wildlife Reserve in the east and Madi settlements and India border in the south. The physiography of the park consists of the Terai and Siwaliks. Three major rivers Narayani, Raptiand Reu, and their floodplains and several lakes and pools are the major water sources of the park. Being the first protected area of Nepal, it has a long history of over three decades in park management and rich experiences in nature conservation. Chitwan was a big game area for the royal families, Rana rulers and their guests. The area comprising the Tikauli forest from Rapti River to the foothills of the Mahabharat extending over an area of 175 km2 was declared as Mahendra Deer Park in 1959. The area south of the Rapti River was demarcated as a Rhino Sanctuary in 1963. It was proclaimed as Royal Chitwan National Park with an area of 932 km2in 1973. After the peoples’ revolution in 2006, the park’s name was changed to Chitwan National Park. In recognition of its unique biological resources of outstanding universal value, UNESCO designated CNP as a World Heritage Site in 1984. In 1996, an area of 750 km2 surrounding the park was declared a buffer zone, which consists of forests and private lands including cultivated lands. The buffer zone contains a Ramsar Site – Beeshazari Lakes. The park and the local people jointly initiate community development activities and manage natural resources in the buffer zone. The government of Nepal has made a provision of plowing back 30-50 percent of the park revenue for community development in the buffer zone.
Habitat Types: The Chitwan valley is characterized by tropical and subtropical forests. Roughly 70 percent of park vegetative cover is Sal (Shorearobusta) forest, a moist deciduous vegetation type of the terai region. The remaining vegetation types include grassland, riverine forest and Sal with Chir pine Pinusroxburghii. The later occurs at the top of the Churia range. The riverine forests consist of Khair (Acacia catechu), Sissoo (Dalbergiasisoo) and Simal (Bombaxceiba). The grasslands are mainly located in the floodplains of the rivers and form a diverse and complex community with over 50 different types of grasses including the elephant grass (Saccharum spp.), renowned for its immense height. It can grow up to 8 meter in height.
Species Diversity: A total of 68 species of mammals , 56 species of herpeto fauna and 126 species of fish have been recorded in the park. The park is especially renowned for its protection of One Horned Rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger and Gharial Crocodile. The park harbors not only the world’s largest terrestrial mammal (wild elephant) but also the world’s smallest terrestrial mammal (pygmy shrew). A total of 544 species of birds has been recorded so far including 22 globally threatened species including critically endangered Bengal Florican, Slender-billed Vulture, White-rumped Vulture and Red-headed Vulture.
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