National Park Conference underway in Thimphu

Release of National Tiger Survey
Release of National Tiger Survey

14-16 August, Thimphu. The opening session of the ‘National Park Conference and Global Tiger Day Celebration’ was graced by His Excellency Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay at the Convention Centre on 14th of August. The session was also attended by Lyonpo D.N. Dhungel, Ministry of Information and Communications, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Dasho Paljor.J.Dorji, several Members of Parliament, Dasho Ugen Tshewang, Secretary, National Environment Commission, Dasho Tenzin Dhendup, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Forest, Dasho Dr. Sonam Tenzin, Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs, senior government officials of various government ministries and departments, desups, 120 students & teachers of Thimphu Thromde schools.

The Global Tiger Day was also celebrated at the opening session. Although the Global Tiger Day falls on 29th of July, the department postponed this celebration to coincide with the momentous occasion of launching the National Park Conference.  Further, the Honorable Chief Guest released the preliminary results of the first ever nationwide tiger survey. A documentary film part one on the nationwide tiger survey was also screened. This survey is lead by our Bhutanese nationals and the final survey reports will be available in 2015 to commemorate the Birth Anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

Participants and Dignitaries at conference
Participants and Dignitaries at conference

One of the initiatives planned to mark the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo is the ‘Green Bhutan Project’. This project focuses on Greening Thimphu Valley and its completion is appropriately timed to commemorate the celebrations in November 2015. The Greening Thimphu is intended to improve the Capital City’s greenery through landscaping and urban plantation for social, economic and environmental well being of its residents. The Department of Forests and Park Services is leading this initiative and a separate project management team is instituted with members from various agencies under the ministry for efficient implementation of the project. The chief guest also launched the ‘Green Bhutan Project’ website.

Moving to the parks conference, the theme of this year’s park conference is Enhancing Conservation Programs in the Protected Areas in the Changing Environment. The three days conference has six main sessions with specific sub-themes. The department has ensured that priority emerging conservation issues be discussed during the conference. Recognizing its due importance and also to maintain continuity to the works carried out in the preceding years, the Department have decided to revive the park conference as an annual event. It is vital that protected area managers meet annually to share, update, learn and deliberate on the conservation issues, challenges and possible solutions. This parks conference will spear head the tasks to conduct the management effectiveness evaluation in our protected areas.

The parks conference for three consecutive years will be funded through the WWF Bhutan program project on “Sustaining Ecosystem for Livelihood: Eco-life”. An exit mechanism to institutionalize the parks conference and management effectiveness evaluation of protected area will be developed to ensure the sustainability of such important conservation activity.

The Programme is funded by the World Wildlife Fund (Bhutan Program), Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Bhutan Trust Fund for Environment Conservation (BTFEC) and Royal Government of Bhutan. Many thanks for the continued support to all the benefactors.

Submitted by: Wildlife Conservation Division, Department of Forests and Park Services and photo by Choidup Zangpo, ICS

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