With lush green forests and exotic fauna which include the
rare one-horned rhino, the Royal Bengal tiger, crocodiles, elephants, deer and
over four-hundred species of birds, the Chitwan National Park has on display
one of the finest wildlife scenarios in Asia. Geographically located in the
Terai belt, encompassed by the Churia Hills and adjacent to the Rapti, Reu and
Narayani rivers, the park covers an area of 932 sq. km. It was established in
1973 and is the oldest National Park in Nepal. The park became a World Heritage
Site in 1984.
During the late 19th century, Chitwan was used as a private hunting reserve of the Rana Prime Ministers. As early as 1911, King George V led a hunting party to Chitwan that culminated in the killing of thirty-seven tigers and eight rhinos. Between 1933 and 1940, the King and his guests were said to have killed four hundred and thirty-three tigers and fifty-three rhinos. For which if the late king had done that today, pet lovers would have probably surrounded his palace with protests. By the late 1960s, the population of rhinos and tigers in Chitwan had decreased even further due to arbitrary hunting and poaching. The declaration of Chitwan as a national park in1973 and the obligation of strict measures against poaching and unauthorized conversion of forest to farmland has given a lifeline to the wildlife population. We now see more wildlife in the park. Currently, Chitwan National Park is regarded as one of the most developed and most commonly visited national parks in Nepal.
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