A farmer in Rangthaling, Tsirang, while walking along a farm road, spotted an animal he has never seen around.

He immediately reported to the forest officials, who identified the animal as a critically endangered species of Chinese Pangolin.

The animal was then brought to the interim wildlife rescue centre in Damphu but after 72 hours released to its natural habitat.

According to a senior forest ranger, Kinley, the 6.1kg female Chinese Pangolin suffered a minor injury.

“This is the first time we’ve spotted a Chinese Pangolin in Tsirang. To ensure the survival of the critically endangered species we’ve plans to initiate conservation activities,” he said.

He said a habitat modeling would be done immediately to confirm its habitat suitability range within the reserved forest in Tsirang. “The habitat modeling will be done with GIS.”

Kinley said a distribution pattern study would be carried out. “A detailed study to confirm its food habit and nesting pattern is important to initiate conservation activities.”

He also said that conservation awareness and strict patrolling is being carried out as it’s done for other species in Tsirang.

The ranger said that of the eight species of Pangolin found globally, four are found in Asia. “Bhutan harbours a good habitat for Chinese and Indian Pangolin.”

Chinese Pangolin is also found in China, Hong Kong, India, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Taiwan, Province of China, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), this species is listed as critically endangered due to high levels of poaching for meat and scales. “However, no population record is available so far.”

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang