Flora & Fauna of Bhutan
Considering its size, Bhutan probably has the greatest biodiversity among Asian countries. Bhutan with its alpine highlands and lowland jungles is a safe haven for a diverse range of flora and fauna that is unrivalled in the Himalayas.
More than 60 percent of the common plant species of the eastern Himalayas can be found within Bhutan. The wealth of floral species include 5,400 vascular plants, 360 species of Orchids, 46 species of Rhododendrons, Junipers, Magnolia, Blue poppies, Edelweiss, Gentians, Primulas, Artemisia, Daphne, Giant Rhubarb, carnivorous plants, high-altitude plants and over 500 species of medicinal plants. Botanists consider the entire country as one beautiful park.
Bhutan forms part of the ten global bio-diversity ‘hotspots’ in the world and one of the 221 global endemic bird areas. It harbors an estimated 770 species of birds which include the Himalayan Griffon, the unique high altitude Wader, the Ibisbill, the spectacular Hornbill, Barbets, Sunbirds, Fulvettas, Yuhinas, Cuckoos, and many more. Bhutan has about 464 resident bird species. Around 50 species are known to be winter migrants. These include ducks, Waders, birds of prey, Thrushes, Finches and Buntings. About 40 species of summer visitors or partial migrants to Bhutan include Cuckoos, Swifts, Bee-eaters, Warblers, Flycatchers and Drongos. The country has more than 28 species of internationally endangered birds like the Pallas Fish Eagle, White-bellied Heron, Black-necked Crane, Satyr Tragopan, Grey-bellied Tragopan, Ward’s Trogaon, Blyth’s Kingfisher, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Rufous throated Wren Babbler, Red-headed Parrotbill, Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Ward’s Trogon, Wood Snipe, Dark Rumped Swift, Grey-crowned Prinia and the Beautiful Nuthatch all of which breed in Bhutan.
Bhutan also sees a wide range of animal population. Along its southern border, subtropical forests have Elephants, Tiger, Gaur, Wild Water Buffalo, Hog Deer, Clouded Leopard, Swamp Deer and other mammals and birds characteristic of Indo-Malayan species. The high Himalayan fauna include some of the endangered species like the Blue Sheep, Yaks, Takin, Snow Leopard, Wolf, Marmot and Musk Deer. Temperate zone is home to Tiger, Leopard, Goral, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Sambar, Wild pig, Barking Deer and the rare Golden Languar which is endemic to Bhutan, and other species characteristic of the pale arctic realm.
Environment of Bhutan
The Bhutanese continue to abide and adhere to a strict environmental code guided by the traditional Bhutanese culture of paying reverence to nature. Therefore it is no surprise to see this environmental code, Bhutan to maintain 60% forest coverage for all times to come, enshrined in the constitution of the kingdom. Environmental conservation is at the core of its development strategy. As a result of the farsighted and noble conservation measure the current forest coverage, constituting for 72.5 % of its total land, is in fact growing.
Bhutan has set aside approximately 29.96 percent of the country’s total land area as national parks, nature reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and conservation areas. This includes four national parks, four wildlife sanctuaries and one strict nature reserve, enriched with vascular plants, orchids, rhododendrons, medicinal plants and other rare and endemic species. Approximately 9.53 percent of the country has been declared as biological corridors in which wildlife sanctuaries and a chain of nature reserves connect the protected areas to ensure that the wild animals and birds can move freely within a vast natural range. Nine national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have some of the rarest animals in the world and form a haven for a number of the world’s rare and endangered species.
This puts into place a pristine ecology that would impress any environmentalist.
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