Bhutan observed the World Environment Day (WED) 2017, themed “Connecting People to Nature” on 4th June, coinciding with the commemoration of Birth Anniversary of Her Majesty Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, the Royal Patron for Environment. Under the auspices of the day, numerous activities and programs were organized by various agencies across the kingdom. Following are the highlights of the day:
The National Environment Commission (NEC) observed the day in collaboration with Motithang Higher Secondary School in Thimphu. Her Excellency Lyonpo Dorji Choden, Minister for Works and Human Settlement and Honorable Member of NEC, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Dignitaries and officials from Tourism Council of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment Research (UWICER), National Biodiversity Center, Bhutan Chamber for Commerce and Industry, Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators, Hotel Association of Bhutan, Guide Association of Bhutan and students and teachers of Motithang Higher Secondary School, Nima High School, Jigme Namgyel School attended the program.
At the event, Lyonpo launched Green Hotel Guidelines; Seasonal and Monthly Hydrological Water Balance Assessment in Bhutan, 2017; Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of the Royal Botanical Garden, Serbithang Volume II; and A Pictorial Guide to Trees, Shrubs and Herbs of Tangsibji Hydro-power Sites.
Leading Researchers from UWICER delivered talks on significance and findings of their research work in conservation biology. Mr. Sherub (aka Bird Sherub), Chief, Research and Education Division presented about “Birds in Bhutan” giving insights into the history of research on birds in Bhutan and accomplishments made so far. From his research on bird migration and annual movements, he highlighted about birds behavioral adaptation to flight into thin air creating upward spiral while crossing higher and lower altitudinal elevation. Another key findings from his research were observation of northward migration rather than southward by Black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis) during winter periods. The total recoded number of bird species in Bhutan currently stands at 721 and is predicted that 770 bird species will occur. However, Mr. Sherub strongly believes that the figure will cross the projected number during his lifetime.
Mr. Tshering Tempa, Chair, Department of Conservation Biology of the Institute presented on significance of tiger conservation and its cultural value in Bhutan and touched upon some of the study areas in his talks on “The Ecology of Montane Bengal Tigers in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan”. He stated that although Bhutan’s land area makes up only 0.03% of the world; we have 3% of the World’s tiger population. He also informed the gathering that every tiger had a unique stripe that distinguished itself from the other.
Apart from the technical presentations, one of the students of Motithang Higher Secondary School also provided her personal perspective on importance of conserving the environment.
Members of Thimphu Mountain Biking Club and other riders from Thimphu commemorated the day by cleaning up, repairing and improving the multi-use trail between the Takin Preserve and Wangditse. The multi-use trails were built to commemorate 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth King. For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/ThimphuMTBClub/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE
WED on 5th June is observed as a Pedestrian Day all over the country.
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