Among other things, Bhutan is most famous for its scenic wonders and untouched natural beauty. An isolated economy till the early 1960s, the country is till catching up in terms of technological & infrastructural developments. Due to the isolation Bhutan still retains a large part of its unique natural beauty & rare flora and fauna. Tourism has emerged as a major way of earning foreign exchange, but the government has taken many steps to conserve the Wildlife & Nature & keep the environment intact. Though tourism has emerged as a major industry here, the government here believes in sustainable development. The Bhutanese government has taken many initiatives to ensure that there is no irreversible damage caused to the Wildlife & Nature.
National Parks And Wildlife Sanctuaries
Bhutan is among the few places in the world which still has pristine forests & unspoiled natural wonders to its credit. Owing to the varying altitudes, there are climatic variations which have subsequently made it possible for diverse flora and fauna to co-exist here. The Bhutanese government in order to preserve these natural treasures has reserved 35% of the land area & has converted it into a system of national parks, protected areas and forest corridors. Many rare and endangered species (plants, animals & birds) seek refuge in these sanctuaries and wildlife parks.The government regularly trains and equips the park officials and staff, makes improvements in the park infrastructure & also encourages biological and socio-economic surveys. Also the parks are constantly monitored to ensure the safety of its inhabitants.
Royal Manas National Park
The most popular & visited protected areas in Bhutan; Manas National Park is home to many diverse species of animals and plants. It houses many endangered species too that are not found anywhere else in the world. Declared a protected area in 1966, Manas National Park is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in Bhutan.Clouded Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Gangetic Dolphin and Pangolin, Royal Bengal Tiger, Asian Elephant, Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros and the rare Golden Langur are some of animal species prominent in the region. In fact, Bhutan is only place in the world where you will find the grand and beautiful Golden Langur.Diverse bird species ranging from Blue-Headed Rock Thrush, Spotted Wren-Babbler, Rufous-Necked Hornbill, Great White-Bellied Heron, Pallas Fishing Eagle to the Emerald Cuckoo are found here. There are many kinds of medicinal plants to be found in the region too.
Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary
Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary spanning an area of 650 sq. km is the newest of all of Bhutan’s protected areas. There are many diverse species of animals and plants to be found here. Some common birds found here include Grey Headed Woodpecker, Grey Headed Woodpecker, Grey Backed Shrike, Assamese Macaw, Blood Pheasant, Rufous Vented Tit, Hoopoe, and Dark Breasted Rose finch.Rhododendrons are very common across the whole regions. Other prominent flowers include the Blue Poppy (national flower- Bhutan), Gentian, Primulas, etc. Spring is the best time to visit when the whole park is transformed into a magical paradise overrun by flowers of every species and myriad colors. Out of the many animal species, prominent ones include Barking Deer, Himalayan Red Fox, Hoary-Bellied Himalayan Squirrel, Snow Leopards, Red Pandas, etc.There are many nomadic tribes in the region & according to the popular folklore; the Yeti or the abominable snowman also lives here.
Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated in the north-western part of Bhutan, Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of about 1,545 sq. km. There are many diverse species of animals to be found here. Prominent ones include the Red Panda, Snow Leopard, and the Royal Bengal Tiger. This sanctuary is also home to the Black Necked Cranes, a rare bird species which migrates here in the winters. Among other natural wonders, the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary boasts of being the habitat of around 130 butterfly species & many others that are yet to be recorded.Many visitors are surprised by the profusion of sacred sites within the sanctuary. Some prominent ones are Rigsum Gompa, the mystic Singye Dzong and Dechenphodrang Lhaghang, which is a scenic monastery considered by many to be the most beautiful in the whole country.
Jigme Dorji National Park
Spread over an area of 4,349 sq. km, Jigme Dorji National Park in Bhutan is the largest protected areas here. Diverse vegetation and varied landscape ranging from glaciers, ice fields to untouched lush forests are all parts of the Jigme Dorji National Park. Some important landmarks in the region comprise of sacred mountain peaks like Jichu Drakey, Jomolhari and Tsherimgang. The fresh waters from the many melting glaciers here feed some of Bhutan’s prominent rivers. Flowers like Rhododendrons, Edelweiss, Orchids & the national flower – Blue Poppy are found everywhere. Due to its diverse flora and fauna, it is a delightful place for all trekkers. Animal species like Snow Leopard, Tiger, Black Bears and Red Panda are found here.
Trumshingla National Park
Recently opened, Thrumshingla National Park is located in Central Bhutan & is spread across an area of approx. 768 sq. km. With its untouched natural beauty, mighty mountain peaks, varied flora and fauna, this park provides a unique and beautiful habitat to its inhabitants. Thrumshingla National Park became the centre of attention of the whole world in 2000, when a survey team managed to get photographic evidence of a tiger at an altitude of 3,000 meters. This was firm evidence of the fact that the tigers could survive at such high altitudes. There are also about 341 species of birds to be found here, which makes Thrumshingla National Park, a true heaven for all bird watchers. The park also offers many natural spots and trails for trekkers. The spectacular habitat and multitude of flora and fauna found here makes this a must visit place in every travelers itinerary.
Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park
Situated in Central Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park is spread over an area of 1,300 Sq.kms. Of all the protected areas of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park is the second largest. From ice peaks to low conifer/broadleaf forests, this national park is home to many natural wonders. Previously, it was known as the Black Mountain National Park. Because of the varying altitude & diverse climatic conditions, it is home to varied plants, animals and birds species.It is officially one of the largest tracts of land under forest cover in the Eastern Himalayan region. Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park houses a multitude of animal species, many of which are rare or endangered. Examples include Musk Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Golden Langur (endemic to Bhutan), the Rare Clouded Leopard, the Red Panda and the Royal Bengal Tiger. One can also find more than 391 species of birds here, of which seven species are among the globally threatened species. Phobjikha valley is a bird watchers paradise here.