Chitwan National Park – World Natural Heritage in Nepal

At the foot of the Himalayas, Chitwan is one of the few intact remains of the ‘Terai’ region, which formerly stretched across the foothills of India and Nepal. It has a particularly rich flora and fauna. One of the last populations of one-horned rhinoceros to live in the park, it is also one of the last refuges of the Bengal tiger.

Accreditation year: 1984
Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
Area: 93,200 ha
Chitwan District of Narayani Khu District

Outstanding global value

Nestled at the foothills of the Himalayas, Chitwan has an exceptionally rich flora and fauna and is home to one of the last single-horned rhino populations of the Asian one-horned rhinoceros and is also one of The last refuge of the Bengal Tiger. Chitwan National Park (CNP), established in 1973, was the first National Park of Nepal. Located in the Central South Terai of Nepal, formerly it stretches through the foothills, the site covers an area of ​​93,200 hectares, spread across four districts: Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Parsa and Makwanpur.

The park is the last surviving example of the natural ecosystems of the ‘Terai’ region and covers the subtropical lowlands, located between two east-west river valleys at the foot of the Siwalik range of the outer Himalayas. . The core area lies between the Narayani (Gandak) and Rapti rivers to the north and the Reu river and the Nepal-India international border to the south, on the Sumeswar and Churia hills, and from Dawney hills to the west of Narayani, and borders the Zone Parsa wildlife conservation in the east. In 1996, an area of ​​75,000 hectares including forests and private land surrounding the park was declared a buffer zone. In 2003, Beeshazar and related lakes in the buffer zone were designated wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

Criterion (vii): Breathtaking scenery, covered with lush vegetation and the Himalayas as a backdrop make the park an area of ​​exceptional natural beauty. Wooded hills and changing river landscapes make Chitwan one of the most stunning and fascinating parts of the lowlands of Nepal. Located in the river valley basin and characterized by steep cliffs on south-facing slopes and riparian forests and grasslands along the riverbanks of the natural landscape make this property one of the best. most visited tourist destination in the region. The property includes the Narayani (Gandaki) River, the third largest river in Nepal that originates in the high Himalayas and flows into the Bay of Bengal offering dramatic river views and scenery, as well as a riverbed consisting of layers of pebbles and gravel .

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The property includes two famous religious sites: Bikram Baba at Kasara and Balmiki Ashram in Tribeni, a pilgrimage site for Hindus from neighboring regions and India. It is also home to the indigenous Tharu community who have inhabited the area for centuries and are known for their unique cultural practices.

Criterion (ix): Constituting the largest and least disturbed example of sal forests and related communities, Chitwan National Park is an outstanding example of biological evolution with its unique aggregation unique flora and fauna from the Siwalik ecosystem and within Terai. The property includes the fragile Siwalik hill ecosystem, including some of the youngest examples of this as well as alluvial floodplains, which represent examples of ongoing geological processes. This property is the last major surviving example of Terai’s natural ecosystems and has seen minimal human impacts from traditional human resource dependence, especially Tharu Aboriginal communities live in and around the park.

Criterion (x): The combination of alluvial floodplains and riparian forests provides excellent habitat for the Great One-horned Rhino and the area is home to the second largest population of this species in the world. world. It is also the primary habitat of the Bengal Tiger and supports a viable source population of this endangered species. Particularly high in species diversity, the park is home to 31% of mammals, 61% of birds, 34% of amphibians and reptiles, and 65% of fish recorded in Nepal. In addition, the park is renowned for having one of the highest concentrations of bird species in the world (more than 350 species) and is recognized as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots as designated by the Nest. Conservation International and is among the 200 WWF Global Ecoregions.


The property fully incorporates the representative biodiversity of the central Terai-Siwalik ecosystem and in conjunction with the adjacent Parsa Wildlife Sanctuary constitutes the largest and least disturbed example of sal forest. and related communities of Terai. The park also protects the catchment of the park’s river system and key ecosystems including Siwalik, subtropical deciduous forest, riparian ecosystems, and grasslands. The Park boundaries are well defined. The park’s ecological integrity is further enhanced by the Parsa Wildlife Sanctuary adjacent to its eastern boundary and the designation of a buffer zone around the Park that is not part of a World Heritage Site. recognized but provides additional protection and important habitat.

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The Park’s World Heritage values ​​have been enhanced as the population of the Great One-horned Rhino and Bengal Tiger increased (Rhino – about 300 in the 1980s to 503 in 2011 and Tiger from 40 adults) breeding in the 1980s to 125 adults in 2010 ). While no major changes in the natural ecosystem have been observed in recent years, the park’s grasslands and riparian habitats have been invaded by invasive species such as Mikania macrantha.

Poaching the endangered one-horned rhinoceros for the illegal trade in their horns is an urgent threat facing the park authorities, despite the enormous efforts of Park Conservancy. Illegal trade in tiger parts and timber theft are also potential threats to the integrity of the property. The traditional dependence of local people on forest resources is well controlled and not considered to have a negative impact on the property. Human-wildlife conflict remains an important issue and threat that has been addressed through compensation programs and other activities as part of the implementation of the buffer zone program.

Protection and management requirements

Chitwan National Park has a long history of protection dating back to the early 1800s. It was designated and legally protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1973. The Nepalese army was deployed. In addition, the Chitwan National Park Regulations, 1974 and the Buffer Zone Management Regulations, 1996 fully guarantee the protection of natural resources and the participation of the people to protect the park since 1975. conservation as well as socio-economic benefits for people living in the buffer zone. This makes Chitwan National Park an outstanding example of a Government-Community partnership in biodiversity conservation.

The property management is of a high standard and the Government of Nepal has demonstrated that it recognizes the value of the park by investing substantial resources in its management. Management activities have been guided by the Management Plan, which should be updated and revised regularly to ensure that key management issues are adequately addressed. The first 5-year Management Plan (1975-1979) for the CNP was prepared in 1974 with an updated plan for the 2001-2005 period expanded to include the CNP and its Buffer Zone along with the provision of three management zones. A follow-up plan for 2006-2011 includes Parks and Buffer Zones and streamlines conservation and asset management. The long-term maintenance of the park’s integrity will be ensured through the continuation of the current protection strategy with needs-based enhancement as well as the maintenance of intact wildlife habitat through management-based management. on science. Effective implementation of the buffer zone program will further address issues related to human-wildlife conflict.

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The park’s aquatic ecosystem has been threatened by pollution from point and nonpoint sources, including developments near the Narayani River. This pollution needs to be controlled with the concerted efforts of all stakeholders. The need to maintain a delicate balance between conservation and the basic needs of the people living around the park remains a major concern of the management agency. The need to address issues related to increased traffic regulation at the Kasara Bridge, the construction of a bridge on the Reu River, and an underground transmission line for people living in the Madi valley are also concerns.

High traffic and maintaining adequate facilities remains an ongoing management issue. As one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal, due to its easy viewing of wildlife and breathtaking scenery and the economic benefits of doing this are considerable. The facility is a model of proper park accommodation with continued efforts to ensure this is maintained. Poaching of wildlife and vegetation remains an important issue and the most significant threat to the many species and populations that inhabit the park. Ongoing efforts to address this issue are needed despite considerable efforts to enforce regulations and prevent poaching.

Map of Chitwan National Park

Video about Chitwan National Park

See also: UNESCO World Cultural/Natural Heritage Sites

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