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BHUTAN ENVIRONMENT & POLICY - Wild Mountain Adventure
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Word from fourth King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuk

Throughout the centuries, the Bhutanese have treasured their natural environment and have looked upon it as the source of all life. This traditional reverence for nature has delivered us into the twentieth century with our environment still richly intact. We wish to continue living in harmony with nature and to pass on this rich heritage to our future generations.

The pristine natural environment of Bhutan with high risen rugged mountainous and deep valleys, offers rich and diverse ecosystem. Recognizing the importance of conservation of its rich natural environment, the Bhutan government under the law, over 60% of the kingdom must remain under forest cover for all time to come. Currently about 72 percent of the country is under forest cover and more than 26% of the land is under the protected areas comprising of four national parks. About 9% of the land is under biological corridors in which wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves connect protected areas that are designated as home for the wild life sanctuaries. Additionally, Bhutan in the midst of the Himalayas boasts itself in its rich flora and fauna because of its forest cover that is intact and the great altitudinal and climatic range of its location. Within its biodiversity realm, the country boasts of over 200 species of mammals, 770 species of birds, 5400 species of plants, 300 species of medicinal plants.

As a whole, Bhutan is very conscious of the need of protecting its naturally given environment. With the national policy and under the Bhutanese law, 60% out of 72.5% of the kingdom must remain covered by forest for all time to come. The country has received the Earth Award in 2005 established by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and has been included in the list of the world’s “ hot spots “ for conservation of biological diversity. Through learning from the mistakes of other countries, Bhutan with its late development the country’s policy of development has been taken care along with more emphasis on the conservation of forests and rare flora and fauna. As mentioned earlier the country’s policy of maintaining 60% forest cover for all time to come. Bhutan has constituted protected areas of National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. The country has categorized nine protected areas into strict nature reserves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries representing typical biodiversity at different levels of species, genetic, landscapes, and eco-systems.

As part of the global community, we encourage our value travelers to support conservation of Bhutan’s natural environment by shouldering great responsibility with the Bhutanese in respecting, preserving and not polluting the environment. Wild Mountain Adventure is shouldering a responsibility with the international and local communities to lessen our impact on the planet, by encouraging our international suppliers regarding the policy of environment concern as well our local communities, by educating the local people for efficient and sustainable use of natural and economical resources to further practice of good energy conservation and preservation of biodiversity. By doing this, we as a team help preserve threatening the natural environment of the kingdom and further continue living in harmony with nature and to pass on this rich heritage to our future generation.

NATIONAL PARKS

Royal Manas National Park

The fully operational Royal Manas National Park stretches under two districts or dzongkhags (Zhemgang and Samdrup Jongkhar), with an area of 1,023 km (395mi.2), covering about 102,280ha. It extends from the lowland southern foothills tropical ecosystem to the permanent snow clad mountain. The Royal Manas National Park has extremely rich wildlife species including the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger, Asian Elephant, one horned Rhino, clouded Leopard, Himalayan black Bear, gangetic Dolphin, Pangolin and golden Languor. It is also home for more than 365 species of birds which has been officially recorded with additional 200 species believed to be in residence. Many plant species in the park has high value for medicinal, traditional and religious importance.

Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Park

The fully operational Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Park was created in 1974 and is the largest protected area in Bhutan stretching an area of 4,349km (1,679mi.2) covering an area of 434,950ha under four districts or dzongkhags (Paro, Thimphu, Gasa and Punakha). It is one of the most biologically rich areas in the eastern Himalaya stretching from warm broad-leaf forest to permanent snow clad mountains in the north. This park aim to protect the natural conservatory of glaciers, alpine meadows, scrub land, sub alpine and temperate conifer forest, warm and cool temperate broad-leaf forest, Major River and streams, flora and fauna that inhabits the ecosystem. Several endangered and existing wild animal species were found including the snow Leopard, Takin, blue Sheep, Musk Deer, Himalayan black Bear, Marmots, red Panda, Tiger along with many other bird species. There are more than 300 important and valuable plant species which are used for medicinal purpose.

Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park

The fully operational Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park covers an area of 1,300km. It is one of the second largest protected national parks in the country with an area under 172,760ha covering the districts or dzongkhags of (Zhemgang, Wangdue and Trongsa). The Park range from the low conifer and broad-leaf forests to high permanent snow-covered peaks, reserving the large and rich temperate forest of the entire Himalaya with alpine lakes, pastures and broad-leaf forest. The varying altitude and climatic condition of this wide diversified ecosystem is home for more than 449 species of birds with several species are globally threatened birds. The park has highest coverage of forest and the animal species found are Musk Deer, Himalayan black Bear, golden Languor, clouded Leopard, red Panda and the Royal Bengal Tiger.

Thrumshing La National Park

The fully operational Thrumshing La National Park is commissioned in 1998 and is one of the largest major temperate park in the country covering an area of 786km (303mi.2) stretching the two districts or dzongkhangs of (Bumthang and Mongar) covering an area of 88,930ha of forest. The pristine ecosystem and landscape range from alpine to subtropical broad-leaf forest combined with dramatic mountains. The park is home to some of the wild animal like – snow Leopard, Tiger, red Panda along with many rare and globally important and unique habitats. The protected Thrumshing La National Park is regarded as one of the Asia’s best birding sites.

Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary

The fully functional Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the north – west of Bhutan covering an area of 1,545km conserving rich diversity of flora and fauna in an area covering 118,430ha spreading across two districts or dzongkhags of (Trashi Gang and Lhuentse). The natural lsndscape range from subtropical forest to an alpine meadows with home for more than 100 species of mammals, including globally threatened snow Leopard, Royab Bangal Tiger, red Panda. The sanctuary also includes Bomdeling valley, which is home for more than 150 vulnerable Black-necked Crane spending their winter in Bumdeling wetland. It is also home for many species of butterfly, so far, more than 130 butterflies have been officially recorded and there are yet to discover more than 120 species of butterfly.

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

The operational Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is newly founded in the year 2003 representing the eastern most temperate ecosystem and landscape spanning an area of 650km with an area under 74 950ha in Trashigang. The sanctuary presents a wide diversity of Himalayan diversified ecosystem, namely alpine meadow, temperate forest, warm broad-leaf forest and thick carpets of rhododendron. Its home for globally threatened animals like – snow leopard, red Panda, Himalayan black Bear, barking Deer, Himalayan red Fox, the hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel and the mythical Yeti. The area is also home for many bird species like common hoopoe, Rufus vented tit and dark breasted rose finch etc.

Khaling - Neoli Wildlife Sanctuary

The operational Khaling - Neoli Wildlife Sanctuary was created in the year 1984 within an area of 273km which covers under 33,380ha. The natural ecosystem covers around subtropical forest reserved in Khaling and Neoli, protecting the animal species in the semi-tropical zone. The sanctuary supports Elephant, Gaur, and other tropical wildlife.

Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary

The fully operational Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the south-central district or dzongkha of Sarbang with an area of 278km spreading under 26,520ha. It was created in the year 1974 to conserve the unique dry forest occupying the important bio-geographical positions. The sanctuary protects the tropical wildlife such as Elephant, Gaur, golden Languor, chital Deer and so many others.

RESERVE

Torsa Strict Nature Reserve

The operational Torsa Strict Nature Reserve has an area of 64,960ha under reserve protection. This reserve protected falls under two districts or dzongkhags of ( Haa and Paro). The reserve area has a variety of landscape and ecosystem in the western most part of the temperate forest beginning from broad-leaf forest to alpine parks including some of the pristine lakes of Sinchulungpa. The area border with Chumbi valley of Tibet