Chitwan National Park covers 932 sq. km. in the flat lowland
region of southern Nepal. It is one of the most important
sub-tropical parks on the Indian subcontinent with populations of
the endangered Royal Bengal tiger, Greater One-horned rhinoceros,
Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica), Wild Asian elephant,
Gaur, Golden Monitor lizard, Gharial crocodile and many more.
For many years it was the Royal hunting grounds for the Kings and
dignitaries of Nepal and therefore was not hunted by the general
public. It did however become a favorite spot for big game safari
hunters in the late nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth
centuries. This was coupled with a surge in local human
populations following the development of anti-malaria medicines
in the mid-twentieth century. The long-term effect was a drastic
decrease in jungle habitat and animal populations in the Chitwan
valley as jungles were converted to farmland and big game were
hunted and poached to dangerously low numbers.