Bhutan is known for the way it assesses the quality of life of its citizens through the Gross National Happiness (GNH) index instead of the universally used Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) index. The term was invented in 1972 by the then King Jigme Singye Wangchuk.
Bhutan is also known for its diverse flora and fauna. Many rare species and endangered animals are found in the forests of Bhutan. But will the country remain as natural and beautiful as it is now? The question is often posed and assumes importance keeping in view the illegal poaching of wild life and cutting down of trees that is damaging the forests in Bhutan.
Bhutan has more than 770 species of birds and 5,400 species of plants. Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, clouded leopards, and bears are some animals found in the forests towards the south of the country. Tigers and Indian leopards are mostly found in mixed conifer and pine forests.
Fruit-bearing trees provide a natural habitat for the Himalayan black bear, red panda, sambar, wild pig, and barking deer. Bhutan is also home to antelope, blue sheep, Himalayan musk deer, marmots, snow leopards, Tibetan wolves, and takins – which is also Bhutan’s national animal.
However, poaching in the forests is rampant because of the pricey medicines that are made from organs of musk deer, tigers and leopards. These medicines are doing more harm than good as rare animals are ruthlessly killed to obtain ingredients required for their preparation. The number of poachers is fast increasing in Bhutan. They keep an eye on endangered animals and kill them whenever they get an opportunity.
The government of Bhutan is taking every possible step to curb the practice of illegal poaching. The kingdom has decided – by enacting several laws – to keep at least 60 percent of its land area under forestation; to dedicate more than 26 percent of its territory as national parks, reserves and other protected areas; and to identify a further 9 percent as wildlife corridors linking the protected spaces. Poaching and illegal trade of animal parts has been specifically targeted.
According to the Bhutanese