Tuesday, October 27, 2015

International snow leopard day in memory of a young forester who died in the line of duty
Tanden Zangmo/Thimphu
The international snow leopard day celebrated in Drugyel Higher Secondary School, paro yesterday was a special tribute to a 28 years old forester who succumbed to altitude sickness in the line of duty.
A forester of Wangchuk Centenial National Park (WCNP) was on his official duty engaged in setting up systematic camera traps in aplace called  …….. to determine the spatial distribution and identify the individual snow leopard when he succumbed to the altitude sickness.
Hence this serves as a stark reminder to other officials who engaged in a similar duty about the lack of essential equipment in avoiding tragic incidence in future.
According to the Deputy Minister, office of the special advisor to the National Environment Commission, Paljor Jigme Dorji the international snow leopard day this year in Bhutan is a special tribute to those foresters who perform their duty under the harsh climatic conditions and especially to pay respect to the young forester who died in the line of duty about a weeks ago.
“Foresters in Bhutan work hard in unpleasant climate and I am saddened by the news” He said.
The foresters in the country are not trained to battle such harsh climate and they are provided with basic first aid kit while venturing in high altitude.
Karma Thukten, a forestry official with Ugyen Wangchuk Institute for Conservation of Environment (UWICE) remember his lost forester friend as a most dedicated person who never compromise his work and a straightforward person.
He said that it is hard to believe that he died so young from avoidable circumstance and yet his service towards the country would be remembered with high admiration.
When asked about how equipped the foresters in the country are to trounce such situation, Karma Thukten said that the foresters lack training as well as apparatus to overcome such difficulties in unpleasant environment.
“The office lack special equipment to ward off the travel fatigue in the ultra thin mountain air” Karma Thukten said.

Karma Thukten after the demise of his friend has seek out doctor’s advice and was opined that dead due to altitude sickness can be easily prevented with one dose of injection.
Forest offices in the country lack emergency equipment like oxygen bag or altitude acclimatization tools, except the basic ones and those who venture in high altitude are not outfitted with required equipment to battle harsh high altitude.
He further went on to say that with such a fatality it is very critical to have equipment for field officials without which the foresters cannot perform their duties well.
However the risk does not only refer to the foresters but also the Cordyceps collectors and others who often climb high up in the mountain.  It is known that as people climb up, the oxygen thickens and air temperature gets drops down which causes difficulties in breathing and adapting to the environment.
Over the years the WCP team has been conducting many systematic cameras trapping of snow leopard by setting up cameras to understand snow leopard and its behaviors.
Similarly the deceased with his team from Wangchuk Centennial National Park (WCNP) was conducting a camera trap set up to study  snow leopard and its prey base survey, identify the individual snow leopard and spatial distribution and  a kind of movement they make etc.
Through this scheme the Park officials could determine the presence of healthy population of illusive snow leopard in Bhutan and was able to study the whole behavior of both snow leopard and Tibetan wolf.
With their effort of numerous phase of camera trapping survey more about the Snow Leopards’ presence, distribution and individuals was able to understand.
As per the reports there are approximately 2,000 numbers of snow leopards in the world.
Bhutan is one of the 12 countries in Asia that harbor the cats’ population in its natural habitat. It is also estimated that about 100-200 leopards are expected to be surviving  in thewild.