Royal Chitwan National Park (1984)

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At the foot of the Himalayas, Chitwan is one of the few remaining undisturbed vestiges of the 'Terai' region, which formerly extended over the foothills of India and Nepal. It has a particularly rich flora and fauna. One of the last populations of single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros lives in the park, which is also one of the last refuges of the Bengal tiger. 

On this page is a small selection of animals found in the park, and depicted on Nepalese stamps. 

Nepal 2005. Chitwan. Snow Leopard (Panthera Uncia). Nepal 1975. Chitwan. Tiger (Panthera Tigris).
Forests occupy 27 percent of Nepalís land area. The Tarai supports extensive hardwood and bamboo forests in areas not cleared for agriculture or resettlement. 

On the lower slopes of the mountains, pines flourish amid oaks and wildflowers. Firs and shrubs thrive in the higher regions, most notably the tree rhododendron, Nepalís national flower, which produces beautiful red and pink blooms from March to April. Smaller plants, such as mosses and grasses, grow at elevations above 3,700 m (12,000 ft). 

Above the snow line of the Great Himalayas (higher than about 4,300 m/about 15,000 ft) no vegetation grows. 

  • Nepal 1969. Rhododendron, Nepal's National Flower. 

Nepal 1969. Chitwan. Rhododendron, Nepal's National Flower.

Nepal 1997. Asters (Callistephus Chinensis). Nepal 1997. Chitwan. Jasmine (Jasminum Gracile). Nepal 1997. Genus of evergreen shrubs (Luculia Gratissima).

Nepal 1973. Chitwan. Costume from the Inner Tarai.

Deforestation is a major problem in Nepal. The country lost half its forests between 1950 and 1980 because of increased demand for fodder, fuelwood, and land for agriculture and settlement. 

Much of the deforestation has taken place in the Tarai, although the Middle and Great Himalayan regions have also experienced serious deforestation. 

With the assistance of the United States and international agencies, Nepal has embarked on several programs to extend and restore its forest cover. 

  • Nepal 1973. Traditional costume from the Inner Tarai. 
Nepal 2005. Chitwan. Bael Tree (Wood Apple). Nepal 2005. Chitwan. Golden Evergreen Raspberry. Nepal 2005. Chitwan. Indian Gooseberry.
The wildlife of the Tarai includes tigers, leopards, deer, and elephants. The Royal Chitwan National Park, located in the Tarai, was set aside to house and protect endangered wildlife such as the rhinoceros, tiger, sloth bear, gaur (a large species of ox), and Ganges River dolphin. 
  • Nepal 1959. Single-horned rhinoceros. 
  • Nepal 1995. Gaur. 
nepal1959. Chitwan. Single-horned Rhrinoceros. Nepal 1995. Chitwan. Gaur.
Nepal 2005. Chitwan. Asiatic Wild Elephant (Elephas Maximus). Nepal 2005. Chitwan. Ganges RiverDolphin (Platanista Gangetica). Nepal 2005. Chitwan. Clouded Leopard (Neofelis Nebulosa).

Wild goats, sheep, and wolves live at higher elevations, and yak are herded by local people. 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Nepal (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Nepal section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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