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!
Bhutan is a relative newcomer to modernity: the country’s first paved road was completed in 1962, and the Internet and TV were not introduced until 1999. Since 2000, however, the pace of its development has snowballed. That acceleration is particularly evident in the country’s shifting demographics. Sixty percent of the Bhutan’s population is below the age of 34. While some people work on farms, more and more prefer to live and work in cities such as Thimphu, the capital. It’s easier than ever to move to those cities, but difficult to find jobs in them.
‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ Completes First Wild Tiger Survey By the World Wildlife Fund Bhutan is home to an amazing 103 wild tigers—an increase from a previous estimate of 75 that was not based on actual field surveys—according to the country’s first-ever tiger survey released on Global Tiger Day [July 29]. Conducted entirely…
High on top of a mountain pass on the road from Thimphu to Punaka, overlooking the Himalayas, is a concentration of 108 chortens (stupas) built in memory of Bhutanese soldiers killed in the 2003 war against insurgents from India.
Upon visiting the most sacred place in Bhutan, the Tiger’s Nest monastery thousands of feet up on the side of a mountain, David Braun reflects on the precepts of Buddhism that encourage the country’s powerful respect for nature.
On his final field inspection with the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration (CRE), Geographer Keith Clarke writes about his experience in Bhutan and reflects on his eight-year term with CRE.
Before leaving the Bhutanese capital city today, the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration visited what will soon be the largest sitting statue of Buddha.
Dr. Peter Raven, Trustee of the National Geographic Society and Chairman of the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration, reflects on a poem he read at an event to celebrate a hundred years of National Geographic coverage of Bhutan.
THIMPHU, BHUTAN–Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck addressed a celebration of one hundred years of coverage of the Kingdom of Bhutan by National Geographic tonight. The event was held at the Taj Tashi Hotel, where the Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration (CRE) is lodging in the mountain kingdom’s capital. Led by National Geographic President and CEO Gary Knell, the CRE is touring Bhutan to learn about the country’s science and conservation programs and visit researchers in the field.
THIMPHU, Bhutan–King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is a young ruler connected deeply with the digital universe while remaining anchored in the teaching and wisdom handed down through generations. He surfs the Web to gauge the mood of the people, following the conversations of his subjects and engaging them through social media. He has his own Facebook page, and he knows…
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,…
The snow leopard, like most of the world’s big cats, survives by keeping a low profile. Yet its secretive nature and penchant for living among some of the steepest, remotest mountain ranges on the planet have not saved the cat from human intrusions throughout most of its range.
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 .
One hundred years ago, in 1914, National Geographic published its first article about the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan: a compelling account of surveys of the region by John Claude White, a British Empire administrator and explorer. Profusely illustrated with his own photographs, White’s report lifted the veil on a mysterious land hidden in the world’s highest mountains.