Bhutan’s young democracy grapples with the challenges of preserving its rich natural environment in the face of its development needs. What does the future hold for Bhutan’s many endangered species that are already being decimated elsewhere? How can Bhutan continue to harbor them so they are not wiped off the face of the earth? From snow leopards and tigers to hundreds of medicinal plants, Bhutan’s rich biodiversity is testimony to the country’s conservation ethics. However, there is a big gap in baseline information for even the most charismatic of Bhutan’s wildlife species.
Establishing Baseline Information on key species
The Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) is a new institute that envisions to be a premier research institute in Bhutan and in the region. It aims to house world class researchers who will use science to guide conservation of Bhutan’s tremendous biodiversity richness, and serve to inspire others in the region. The Bhutan Foundation strives to equip UWICE with the resources, capacity and a conducive environment for science based conservation decision making. First in line is establishing baseline information on many key species including tiger, snow leopard, Asian elephant and Bhutan takin as part of long-term monitoring programs.
Supporting research and monitoring in National Parks
While research and monitoring is a critical component of conservation, conservation action has to happen simultaneously. The Bhutan Foundation seeks to help its partner organizations such as the Royal Manas National Park protect its biodiversity through effective anti-poaching patrols. To this end, the Foundation will support capacity building of park personnel in anti-poaching patrols, and putting in place infrastructure that enables wildlife protection to continue unabated.
Addressing Climate Change
Global climate change is of great concern in the Himalayas. With rapid global warming, mountain ecosystems are increasingly under stress and undergoing profound and unpredictable changes. Understanding the drivers and manifestations of such changes will be crucial in helping communities to successfully adapt to climate change in the Himalayas and other mountain regions of the world. Currently, in the Himalayas, apart from scattered and low resolution meterological data, there are no systematic systems in place to understand the nature and extent of environmental changes. Therefore, the Bhutan Foundation is supporting UWICE set up a system which adds on to existing meteorological observation systems by incorporating longterm phenological and wildlife population monitoring data. To gain support from and ensure relevance, communities will be engaged in these monitoring efforts. Furthermore, we will also supplement monitoring information with satellite data. Thus, monitoring data collected over long-term will help understand environmental (temperature and precipitation) and biological (phenology and animal population) changes and cycles which will help Bhutanese scientists design effective adaptation strategies to combat climate change.
- To support UWICE’s vision to become a center of excellence in conservation biology through exemplary applied research on Bhutan’s key wildlife species and the natural environment
- To support conservation of Bhutan’s biodiversity
- To study current changes in Bhutan’s environment and ecosystem to understand the effects of climate change
- To support the creation of a platform for public discourse on major environmental issues in Bhutan
How you can help……….
$1,000 – support a camera trap station for tiger and prey monitoring
$2,000 – provide 10 GPS units for a park
$6,000 – put a GPS collar on an animal
$10,000 – provide a radio communications tower for anti-poaching
$15,000 – establish a wildlife observation outpost for anti-poaching and tourism
$20,000 – develop education materials on tigers, elephants, snow leopards for schools and clubs
There are many exciting ways to be involved in the programs our partners implement, and make a real difference on the ground in Bhutan. Please contact us for more details.