Flora and Fauna of Bhutan

Bhutan the land of thunder dragon. A peaceful, isolated land nestled in the cradle of the Himalayas, Bhutan may not be greatly developed or progressive from a modern point of view, yet it scores high on the happiness quotient. In 2006 Business Week rated Bhutan the eighth happiest country in the world. It’s worth visiting Bhutan just to find out why!
The people of Bhutan are so fiercely protective of their culture and traditions that tourism is tailored to keep their interests intact. Bhutanese are warm, welcoming and hospitable..

It has a rich and varied biological diversity. Very few countries in the world match Bhutan’s biological diversity and fewer still have taken such strong steps to conserve their biodiversity. Bhutan, for example, has its own Biodiversity Action Plan. The country ranks amongst the top ten percent of highest species density (species richness per unit area) in the world, and it has the largest proportion of land under protected areas.

With a recorded avifauna of over 616 species. Only recently has it begun to open up to visitors. Over 72% of the land is still forested and 26% of the land is protected as National Parks. It is an ideal place to see a wide variety of birds that are impossible or difficult to see anywhere else. Unlike the other Himalayan countries, which suffer from much deforestation and environmental degradation, Bhutan’s richly diverse and beautiful forests are some of the best remaining forest habitats in the Himalayas – so much so that the country is considered to be the most important part of the high bio-diversity conservation hotspot known as the Eastern Himalayan hot-spot.

Bhutan is positioned at the junction of migrating birds and animals and is a treasure house for those who wish to discover different species of flora and fauna. The two distinctive climatic conditions, tropical rainforest in the south and the alpine in the north have permanent residents of many fauna and some are yet to be named.

Because of the lack of specialist in the field of flora and fauna, few thin books are available but not enough have been said and very few details. Of the few species that are unique to Bhutan are rhododendron kesangiai and Bhutanese and sixteen species of globally endangered birds.

Buddhism and nature are often considered as partners and the elements that are supporting the living beings are interdependent, the government of Bhutan has given a priority to preserve environment and received a medal from the UN for preservation in 2004.

Bhutan is visually and environmentally stunning and it is a living art. The difference of elevations from 250 mts in the south to more than 7500 mts in the north are home to those migrating birds and animals and the nature is still intact today.

This has created an asset of environmental alcove to which local plants and animals have
adapted in a remarkable number and variety of ways and still flourishing. There are, more than 54 species of rhododendron, 770 species of mushrooms, 660 species of birds have evolved, considering the size of the country as same size as Switzerland. Bhutan is a dwelling for exotic mammals such as takin (a large, musk-ox-like animal), clouded leopards and red pandas. Bird species range from the cutia and boreal owl to the tiny black-throated parrotbill. Bhutan is a country full of natural wonders where people and nature live in harmony and respect each other

In a boost to Bhutan’s rich biodiversity, 21 new species of amphibians, insects, flowering and non-flowering plants have been discovered in the country.

These have been clubbed in a book, “The Eastern Himalayas: Where the World Collides”, launched by WWF yesterday. Also included in the discovery list are seven species of grass root parasite commonly called lousewort, and a unique frog species Scutiger bhutanensis.

A total of 353 new species have been discovered in the eastern Himalayas the whole of Bhutan, parts of India and Nepal — from 1998 to 2008, that amounts to an average of 35 new species every year. The list includes 244 plants, 16 amphibians, 16 reptiles, 14 fish, two birds, two mammals and about 60 new invertebrates.

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