Chitwan National Park (CNP), formerly called Royal Chitwan National Park (RCNP), covers an area of 932 km², and is the oldest national park in Nepal. Established in 1974, it was granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. The park is located at subtropical inner Terai lowlands of South-Central Nepal in Chitwan district, 200 km away from capital Kathmandu.
Chitwan National Park is rich in flora and fauna, including one of the last populations of single-horned Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) and the Bengal tiger Panthera tigris tigris. The area was known as "Four Mile Forest" and a hunting reserve for big game hunting until 1951.
The park is now a popular destination for ecotourists and includes canoeing, elephant rides, and guided jungle walks. Adjacent to the National Park in the east is the Parsa Wildlife Reserve (49.900 ha) and further east the Bara Hunting Reserve (25.900 ha). In the south the Chitwan is contiguous with the Indian Valmiki Tiger Reserve.
The vegetation consits mainly of moist deciduous forests, with the sal as dominating tree species. In the Churia Hills pine trees predominate. On the floodplains of the large Rivers, by name the Rapti, the Reu and the Narayani there are large areas covered with Elephant grass alternating with riverine Forests mainly composed of Simal, Khair and Sisau trees.
The Chitwan National Park is home to at least 43 species of mammals, 450 species of birds, and 45 species of amphibians and reptiles. Elephants and Indian rhinos are the largest species found in the park, but a lot of other large herbivores are found in the park, gaur, sambar deer, Indian muntjac, chital, hog deer, mainland serow, chousingha and wild boar. Three large predator species: tigers, leopards, dholes prey on them and carrion eaters like striped hyenas are also found. Sloth bears are among the main attractions of the Park. Smaller carivore species are golden jackal, yellow-throated marten, ratel, smooth coated otter, small Indian civet, large Indian civet, spotted linsang, common palm civet, binturong, small Indian mongoose, Indian grey mongoose, crab-eating mongose, leopard cat, marbled cat and fishing cat. Further mammal species found in the park are rhesus monkeys, hanuman langurs, Indian pangolin, northern palm squirrel, red giant flying squirrel, particoloured flying squirrel, Indian porcupine, hispid hare, Indian hare and ganges dolphin.
Among the reptiles marsh crocoiles, gharials and Indian python are the largest.
The park's unique rhino herd was featured on The Jeff Corwin Experience in season 2, episode 11. This national park is just 10 km far from nearby city Bharatpur, Nepal and the Bharatpur Airport.Jungle Safari Trips