VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
For Bhutanese, the relationship we have with our rivers is complex. Generally, we are taught to both fear and respect the river. Superstition and parental wisdom guide us away from rivers. We appreciate and revere them from afar. We would not dare pollute or defile them. But now we are appreciating that rural livelihoods and sustainable tourism can be built on keeping Bhutan’s rivers wild and free.
For a region as rich in biodiversity as the Eastern Himalaya, Bhutan’s healthy population of wild cats, including snow leopard in the north and tiger elsewhere, can serve to repopulate adjoining landscapes as long as the habitats are protected. Bhutan can function as the ecological heart of the Eastern Himalaya, sustaining rural people as well as unique species of wild cats in this large mountainous landscape. For these reasons, investing in Bhutan’s conservation efforts is beneficial to the world!
As the whole nation of Bhutan kicks off a year-long celebration of the 60th birth anniversary of the revered monarch, the fourth King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck (who turns 60 on November 11, 2015), there are ample reasons to celebrate his visionary leadership and statesmanship. He was a champion of environmental conservation,…
Bhutan straddles an area with high biodiversity richness—the Eastern Himalayas. Precipitation from the monsoons, great altitudinal variation, and its location connecting the Indian plains to the high Himalayan peaks on the edge of the Tibetan plateau allow for an amazing assemblage of biodiversity that is still being discovered today. Bhutan is the only place on Earth where snow leopards and tigers share the same habitat. Recent survey results show that both these endangered large cats are not only surviving, but thriving, in Bhutan. And this is only one example of how Bhutan is a coveted destination for scientific exploration and adventure, writes Tshewang Wangchuk, the first Bhutanese National Geographic explorer, and Executive Director for the Bhutan Foundation in Washington, D.C .