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Wildlife Bhutan

Natural heritage of Bhutan is rich and diverse. Its forests occupy more than 70% of the country’s area and Bhutanese people have actively protected conserved and preserved their environment. Bhutan’s National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are an essential part of the Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex, protected areas and forest corridors covering 60% of the country. Each of these parks and sanctuaries has its own special character and are home to endangered animals, birds and plants.

National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries

Whist at Bhutan you don’t have to go too far to be amidst nature. The moment you land you will find yourself in its arms. Whether you are taking an easy hike or trekking or perhaps driving to one of the valley, the nook and corner of Bhutan will not fail to amaze with its pure beauty and immense biodiversity. Spend a day in leisure watching bird or picnic in the wilderness. Bhutan maintains 35% of its 70% forest area as national parks and protected area, making it a champion in safeguarding natural habitat of many life forms. Each of these parks and sanctuaries has its own special character and are home to endangered animals, birds and plants.


Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary is located in north-western part of Bhutan covering an area of 1,545 sq. km with 420 sq. km of buffer zone encompassing parts of Trashiyangtse, Lhuntshe, and Mongar district. It shares international borders with the Tibetan region of China in the north and India in the north east. About 150 black necked cranes spend their winter in Bumdeling every year from mid-November to early March. Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary is also a paradise for butterflies: as of now 130 species have been recorded and another 120 are expected to inhabit this area. Besides natural beauty and diversity many significant religious and cultural places can be found inside the sanctuary, such as Rigsum Gompa, the mystic Singye Dzong and Dechenphodrang Lhaghang.


The Sanctuary is home to people of isolated nomadic tribes. It is characterized by thick carpets of rhododendrons, and in its habitat roam snow leopards, red pandas, Himalayan black bear, barking deer, Himalayan red fox, the hoary-bellied Himalayan squirrel and even the mythical Yeti (or the “Abominable Snowman”). Sakteng is virtually untouched by development. Bird species include the Assamese macaw, blood pheasant, grey backed shrike, grey headed woodpecker, common hoopoe, rufous vented tit and dark breasted rose finch. Plant life includes Bhutan’s national flower, the blue poppy, rhododendrons, primulas and gentiana, all of which transform the park into a garden of colors during spring time. There are also many plants with medicinal values- such as cordyceps.


Located in the central part of the country, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park covers 1,300 sq.km and is the second largest protected area of Bhutan. The park remains one of the largest undisturbed tracks of forest anywhere in the Himalaya’s. Both musk deer and Himalayan black bear can be found here. The golden langur, which is quite common in Bhutan, the rare clouded leopard, the red panda and the Royal Bengal tiger are among some of the many species found here. The eastern side of the park supports about 20% of Bhutan’s tiger population and the park itself forms an important link between the northern and southern tiger populations. It is home to 391 bird species and the Phobjikha valley, a buffer zone to the park, is the winter habitat of the Black Necked Crane.


With an area of 4,349 sq. km, the Jigme Dorji National Park is the largest protected area in Bhutan. It is one of the most biologically rich areas in the Eastern Himalayan region, and stretches from warm broad-leaved forests to permanent ice fields and glaciers on Bhutan’s north-western border. Sacred peaks such as Jomolhari, Tsherimgang and Jichu Drakey are prominent landmarks in the park. Charismatic animal species like the Snow Leopard, Takin, Tiger, Black Bear, Blue Sheep and Red Panda inhabit the forests and mountains of the park. This may be the only place in the world where the Royal Bengal tiger and snow leopard habitats overlap. Most of Bhutan’s most popular trekking routes can be found inside the Jigme Dorji National Park.


Lying in south central Bhutan, it is connected at the southern border with India’s Manas Tiger Reserve, a World Heritage Site. To the north it borders the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Royal Manas was a wildlife sanctuary in 1966 making it Bhutan’s oldest protected area. Wildlife species include the endangered Royal Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, greater one-horned rhinoceros, Himalayan black bear, gangetic dolphin and pangolin. Found virtually nowhere else in the world is the especially rare golden langur, a primate of extraordinary grace and beauty with its long, silky blond fur. Bird Species found include the globally threatened rufous-necked hornbill, great white-bellied heron, blue-headed rock thrush and emerald cuckoo.


Thrumshingla National Parks confirmed in 1998, is situated in the heart of the nation with an area of 786 sq km². With tall mountains approaching over 3,000 meters high and pristine forest ranging from alpine to subtropical broad leaf, national highway traverses through the heart of this park, which provides excellent opportunities for bird watching in the fir and cool broad leaved forest. Ward’s Trogon (Harpactes wardi), Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus impejanus), Satyr Tragopan (Tragopan satyra), Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus), Parrotbills , Beautiful Nuthatch, and various Wren Sixty-eight rare and endangered mammals’ species such as leopard, red panda and malayan giant squirrel have found their home here.


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