BIRDING IN BHUTAN
For centuries, adventurers have trekked to Bhutan in the eastern Himalayas to explore its abundant and diverse biodiversity. Early Western scientists sought to uncover the rare and exotic plants and animals that thrive in this region. To this day, Bhutan remains a haven for bird watchers, boasting 783 species of birds, including three critically endangered, two endangered, fourteen vulnerable, and twenty-nine near threatened species according to Birdlife International. Although Bhutan does not have any endemic bird species, it does have twelve species that are classified as restricted range species.
The steadfast commitment of the Royal Bhutanese Government to environmental preservation and the profound reverence for nature displayed by its Buddhist citizens combine to preserve Bhutan’s ecological richness for future generations. The country boasts some of the world’s highest species densities, ranking in the top 10% globally, and has a large proportion of its land protected as national parks, with approximately 26.23% of its area designated as such. These conservation efforts provide birding enthusiasts the chance to observe around 250 to 300 species on each trip.
As citizens of Bhutan, every person is entrusted with the responsibility of preserving the Kingdom’s natural resources and environment for the present and future generations. It is a fundamental obligation of all citizens to actively contribute to the protection of the natural environment, the preservation of Bhutan’s abundant biodiversity, and the prevention of all forms of ecological degradation, including noise, visual, and physical pollution, through the implementation and support of environmentally-friendly practices and policies.
The Government shall undertake the following responsibilities: a. Safeguard the pristine environment and conserve biodiversity in the country; b. Strive to prevent pollution and damage to the ecosystem; c. Balance economic and social progress with sustainable development that prioritizes the environment; and d. Create a secure and healthy environment for its citizens.
The Bhutanese government shall guarantee that at least 60% of the nation’s total land area will be kept under forest cover permanently for the preservation of the country’s natural resources and to avoid harm to the ecosystem.
Parliament has the authority to pass environmental laws in order to promote the sustainable use of natural resources, maintain fairness between generations, and uphold the sovereign rights of the state over its biological resources.