RBA personnel, foresters and Lunap collectors with permit vacate camp to avoid further incidents.

One of the injured cordyceps poachers who was being treated at Tshojong BHU has succumbed to injuries, the agriculture ministry’s latest press release stated.

The other person with minor injuries is in a stable condition. After examining the wound on the head, the Health Assistantof Lunana BHU confirmed that he was injured by stones thrown by the poachers and not by a stray bullet as previously thought, according to the press release.

Attempts were made both from Paro and Bumthang for medical helicopter evacuations but it could not be carried out due to bad weather conditions.

Detailed reports were received from Lunana to establish a clear sequence of events from the incident yesterday, the press release stated. There are still over 300 people in Lunana to illegally collect cordyceps. The 10 member patrol team was accosted by a huge group of these individuals.

“They assaulted the armed force personnel, and attempted to snatch their weapons, while others began pelting stones from a higher ground. Nine of the patrol team members received various injuries from the stones and direct assault. One of the foresters in the team was hit on the head with a sheathed knife.”

Meanwhile, to avoid any further incidents, the 12 RBA personnel including the military doctor, five foresters, and 70 Lunaps who have permits to collect cordyceps in their own area vacated their camps, leaving behind all their items fearing getting assaulted by the poachers if they remained.

Lunana Cordyceps is the best grade with a kilogram expected to fetch up to Nu. 2.1 million this year.

This (expected price) has led to an unprecedented surge of intrusions from outside groups into areas assigned by law to people of Lunana. The Jigme Dorji National Park, which issues cordyceps collection permits each year with consideration for sustainability, issued permits to 549 persons from Lunana to harvest cordyceps from Lunana gewog.

With over 300 people from Sephu and Dangchu (Wangduephodrang) intruding into Lunana to illegally collect cordyceps this season, there is a risk of overharvesting in Lunana, which threatens to eradicate the only livelihood that the Lunaps have, the press release stated.