in 1973, this is the oldest designated nationals park in Nepal and a
chief safari destination. This park is situated merely 150 kilometers
south-west in inner Terai, the nearest one from Kathmandu. It was
designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984.
Chitwan lies in the lowlands or Inner Terai of southern central Nepal
on the international border with India. The park's boundaries extend
from the Dauney Hills on the west bank of the Narayani River eastward
78km to Hasta and Dhoram rivers. The park is bounded to the north by the
Narayani and Rapti rivers and to the south by the Panchnad and Reu
rivers and a forest road. 27°20-27°40'N, 83°52'-84°45'E
Parsa Wildlife Reserve is contiguous to the eastern boundary of the
park and extends as far eastwards as the Bheraha and Bagali rivers. 27°15'-27°35'N,
Chitwan was enlarged from 54,400ha to its present size of 93,200ha in
1977. Parsa Wildlife Reserve covers 49,900ha. There was a proposal to
further enlarge the protected areas complex by establishing the 25,900ha
Bara Hunting Reserve (Wegge, 1976; Smith and Mishra, 1981), adjacent to
and east of Parsa Wildlife Reserve, but this has been dropped (B.N.
Upreti, pers. comm., 1986).
Altitude ranges from 150m to 815m on the Churia Range.
Chitwan is situated in a river valley basin or dun, along the flood
plains of the Rapti, Reu and Narayani rivers. The Someswar and the
Dauney hills form thesouthern catchment and both drain into the
Narayani. The Churia Hills bisect the park, their northern face falling
within the catchment of the Rapti and southern side forming the
catchment of the Reu. The Rapti is bounded by the Mahabharat Range on
the north. Both the Rapti and Reu flow westwards and drain into the
Narayani, which meanders southwards for about 25km through a narrow
gorge between the Someswar and Dauney hills until it reaches the
Conditions are subtropical with a summer monsoon from mid-June to
late-September, and a relatively dry winter. Mean annual rainfall is
2400mm with about 90% falling in the monsoon from June to September.
Monsoon rains cause dramatic floods and changes in the character and
courses of rivers. Temperatures are highest (maximum 38°C) during
this season and drop to a minimum of 6°C in the post-monsoon period
(October to January), when dry northerly winds from the Himalaya and
Tibetan Plateau are prevalent (Bolton, 1975; Laurie, 1978).
There are more than 43 species of mammals in the park. The park is
especially renowned for its protection of the endangered one- horned
rhinoceros, tiger, and gharial crocodile along with many other common
species of wild animal. The estimated population of rhinos is 400. The
park also secures populations of endangered species such as gaur, wild
elephant, four horned antelope, striped hyena, pangolin, Gangetic
dolphin, monitor lizard, and python.
Some of the other animals found in the park are sambar, chital, hog
deer, barking deer, sloth deer, common leopard, ratel, palm civet, wild
dog, langur and rhesus monkeys. 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. A few of the
common birds seen are peafowl, red jungle fowl, and different species of
egrets, herons, kingfishers, flycatchers and woodpeckers. The best times
for bird watching are in March and December.
More than 45 species of amphibians and reptiles are found in the park,
some of which are the marsh mugger crocodile, cobra, green pit viper and
various species of frogs and tortoises. The park is actively engaged in
the scientific study of several species of wild flora and fauna.