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Wildlife in Bhutan

One of the top ten biodiversity hotspots in the world, Bhutan is blessed with varied landscapes and topographical gradients ranging from ice & glacial fields to broad-leaved tropical forests that serve home to myriad of exotic fauna and avifauna, truly making it wildlife lovers’ paradise. The country is home to rare species of animals like Takin, Snow Leopards, and Red Pandas along with and is the safe haven for more than 770 species of birds. There is undoubtedly no better destination for a wildlife lover than Bhutan. Thanks to the conservation efforts made by the government, the country is today, replete with significant number of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks that has greatly contributed to the preservation and multi-fold growth of the indigenous wildlife. The protected reserves in Bhutan serve habitat for interesting residents like Clouded Leopards, Musk Deer, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Black Bear, Dhole, Ghoral, Serow and Sloth Bear to name a few.

Motithang Takin Reserve for Takin, Thimphu

Sitting in its natural habitat at over 3700 metres in the famed Motithang Takin Reserve of Thimphu attracts quite a number of wildlife enthusiasts and photographers from across the globe who flock here just for a solitary glimpse of Takin, which an uncommon wild species which is recognized as the country’s national animal. This rather unusual creature which has the features of goat, bison and moose, all combined in one. Apart from Takin, Motithang is home to sambar and barking deer.

  • Visiting Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM
  • Entry Fee: 30 Nu for SAARC nationals and 50 Nu for other foreign tourists.
  • How to Reach: Taxis ate available in Thimphu for Motithang Takin Reserve.
  • Places to See Around: Sangaygang View Point, Tashichho Dzong, Folk Heritage Museum
  • Best Time to Visit: March to September

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary for Red Panda, Trashigang

Those interested in a tête-à-tête with this endearing creature, must plan a wildlife excursion to the famous Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary that sits in the far eastern corner of the country, adjoining the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India. Decked with a diverse ecosystem ranging from broadleaf and temperate forests to alpine meadows, it serves home to some of the rarest wildlife species in the country like snow leopards, Himalayan red fox, barking deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan squirrels, as well as the Red Panda which of course is a star attraction here and leaves every wildlife lover with an enthralling experience.

  • Visiting Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Entry Fees: Nu 150 per person approximately
  • How to reach: It is at a distance of 340 km from Thimphu. The sanctuary accessed via Sakteng Village in eastern Bhutan.
  • Best time to visit: March to August
  • Places to See Around: Trashigang Dzong, Drangme Chhu

Jigme Dorji National Park for Snow Leopards

If you are someone who would love to have a close rendezvous with these majestic snow leopards, the trails of Jigme Dorji National Park await to be discovered and ventured upon for a stupendous extravaganza. Just as an information, Jigme Dorji National Park also enjoys the status of being the only place in the world where the Snow Leopards share their habitat with the majestic ‘Royal Bengal Tigers’, so don’t be surprised if you are spotted with one during your excursion here.

  • Visiting Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Entry Fees: Nu 150 per person approximately
  • How to reach: The national park can be accessed from Thimphu by car.
  • Best time to visit: February to May and August to November
  • Places to See Around: Lingzhi Yügyal Dzong, Gasa Dzong, Laya and Lunana Gewogs

Wangchuk Centennial National Park for Tibetan Wolf

The best chance of spotting Tibetan Wolf in Bhutan is in the Wangchuk Centennial National Park that sits in the northern region and spans across the kingdom’s high-altitude wilderness precinct. The Park is also home to nearly 200 species of rare vascular plants, 23 species of large mammals and 100 species of migratory and local birds.

  • Best Time to Visit: Round the Year
  • How to Reach: The park is accessible by car ride from Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang and Trongsa
  • Places to See Around: Orochhoto, Nagspel Village, Tang Valley, Dapham Dzong Ruins, Jule Tsho, Bepzur Mansion, Dhur Hot Spring.

Bomdeling Wildlife Sanctuary for Birds

One can plan a trip to the Bomdeling Wildlife Sanctuary that stretches across over 1500 sq. km. of land in north-east corner of the country and provides shelter to more than 300 species of birds. While one can easily spot here the Rufous-Necked Hornbills, Wood Snipes, Chestnut-Breasted Partridges and Satyr Tragopans, the major highlight is the highly threated Black-Necked Cranes that fly here in winter months from the Tibetan Plateau and provide for a magnetic sight soaked in their aura of mystery and mysticism. Do keep an eye for the vibrant and colourful butterflies that can be seen hovering around in huge clusters.

  • Visiting Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Entry Fees: Nu 50 per person approximately
  • How to reach: The national park can be accessed from Trashigang by a car
  • Best time to visit: March to October
  • Places to See Around: Rigsum Gompa and Singye Dzong
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