Karen’s Critters: Chitwan National Park

February 21st, 2014 | by Ken

After crossing from India into Nepal, our guided tour made a stop in Chitwan National Park. Created in 1973, the park protects endangered rhinos, tigers and crocodiles, among other animals. The plan was a 2-day hike through the park. Most people visit the park on elephant back, to protect them from potential wild animal issues and to see above the tall grasses that grow there.  We were going in without elephants.

The first morning, as we headed into the park, our tour guide Navin told us that a local villager had been killed by a tiger the day before. The villager was in the park cutting grasses for his livestock when the tiger got him. We looked at each other with sad faces. Navin exclaimed, “This is great, it means the tiger is around and we might see him.” Hmmmm, I think I would rather miss this tiger. Then our park guides gave us a rundown of how to react if we are charged by a rhino, tiger, sun bear, or elephant. If it’s an elephant, you can forget about saving your life. Oh boy.

Armed with all this frightening information, tip-toeing about the jungle, we heard something rustle in the grass…

It was exciting to have a close encounter with a one-horned rhino. We spotted some deer, crocodiles, and lots of interesting birds too. It was a nice hike, boat ride and rest along the edges of the park. And it was okay-fine with me that we didn’t see a tiger.

Our fellow rhino-dodger, Lisa, took the optional elephant tour of Chitwan.

She snapped some great photos of a one-horned rhino, giving us another view of what was hiding in the grass while we hiked.

Going in for the close-up view

A great view of the rhino’s segmented body armor

(Thanks for loaning us the pix, Lisa.)