The Royal Chitwan National Park has several features that make it a world treasure. UNESCO designated the park a World Heritage Site in 1984 to highlight these features. First, the park is the best example of a pristine Lowland Teria region in Nepal. The Terai (meaning "moist land), a expanse of marshy grasslands, savannas, and forests at the base of the Himalaya mountain range. Vegetation is mainly deciduous forest, with Sal trees, grasslands, and savannas present. Rivers run through the park, swollen during monsoon season, resupplying the water table and nurturing the vegetation growth. Elephant grass covers a large area.
Second, a refuge for endangered species. Bordered by the Parsa Wildlife Reserve, the Bara Hunting Reserve, Indian Valmiki Tiger Reserve, with Royal Bardia National Park neighboring, the park provides an environment for endangered species to survive and thrive. Foremost among them, the Single-horned Indian Rhinoceros and the Bengal Tiger, which have the largest populations in South East Asia. Other endangered species resident in the park include the Gaur, Asiatic wild dog, the Sloth Bear, Gharial, and the Indian Python. Elephants, bears, leopards number among the forty species of mammals that live there. Many herbivores, including the Sambar Deer and Indian Muntjac, as well as birds, amphibians and reptiles are found in Chitwan.
The Royal Chitwan National Park serves an extremely important purpose by protecting the environment and wild life from encroachment. Throughout India, authorities wage an ongoing struggle to protect the nature and wildlife preserves from hunters poaching and farmers seeking to clear land for fields. That holds true for Chitwan as well. The indigenous people of Tharu populate most the villages and cities in the region. The park officials, and the Indian government, have been attempting to provide farming land, while protecting the preserve.