Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Risks and threats in preserving of Bumdeling wildlife Sanctuary

Tanden Zangmo/Thimphu

In contrary to conventional beliefs that presence of human settlements, developmental

activities and farming within the park areas impedes conservation of flora and fauna, a

research conducted by the department of forest and park services has found out that

human settlement and farming practices are critical to its preservation.

In commemoration of 108 National day, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest has

launched three publications which provides information on the importance of human

settlement and farming while conserving endangered species.

The research findings were recorded by a team of researchers from the BWS  recently

conducted a study in park provinces of BWS , one of the prime habitats of BNC and other

endangered wildlife species , in an attempt to not only identify the different threats, but

also to determine other risks.

The park officials have identified six threats associated to the park and conservation of

flora and fauna in the park vicinity.

As per the book called ‘Protected Areas of Bhutan’ One of the critical observations made

is the reduction in the feeding areas and habitat loss due to fallow land where farmers

abandon their paddy field due to unfertile soil for cultivation.

From the six threats, such as biological, social, natural, political threats etc, the

researchers pointed out that the biological threat has a more direct impact on decline on

the number of flora and fauna.

For instance the finding states that there is a strong statistical correlation between bird

population and farming practices. This means the bird population depends on the way and

type of farming activities people practice. “More areas under cultivation means more

foraging areas for cranes, thus more numbers of cranes visitation,” the research book


The research also states that the habitat loss is continuously happening due to landslides,

flood and other human activities such as construction of infrastructure, collection of

forest products and litering the park areas.

The park is also at the risk of losing protected species like Tiger, snow leopard, musk

deer and black necked crane due to poaching, habitat change, disturbance and retaliatory


The team has examined and tried to look into the developmental activities where

construction of unfriendly road and cutting of transmission line corridors has resulted into

habitat fragmentation and destruction of vegetation

This study analysis concludes that the people are an integral part and parcel of the

sustainability of Black-Necked cranes and other wildlife, and their participation in the

wildlife conservation works is very much important.

Population trends of the most vulnerable bird species, BNCs (Grus nigricollis), the

researchers said is fluctuating, possibly due to habitat loss and degradation.

BWS was established in 1994 in the northeastern part of Bhutan covering over an area of

1520.61 km square and the park covers three gewogs of Trashiyangtse  dzongkhag and

one gewog ecach from Mongar and Lhuntse.

The park is home for 734 plant species including 31v ferns, 349 herbs, 64 orchids, 108

shurbs, 42 mammals, 343 birds, 202 butterflies, 18 species of snakes, 4 lizards and 7 fish

species which signifies that the park has rich diversity of both flora and fauna.

The park is also identified as an important bird thriving area by the Birdlife International

as the endangered species like BNC, wood snipers and grey-crowned prinias and other

significant birds are found in the park provinces. Also the park is recognized of the

Bhutan’s swallowtail, a butterfly species rediscovered.