Y K Poudel 

A forester at the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment Research (UWICER) received the Jigme Singye Wangchuck Outstanding Environmental Stewardship Award (JSW-OESA) 2022 on November 8.  

The Patron of the Bhutan Ecological Society and the chief guest for the event Her Royal Highness Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck presented the award at a ceremony in Thimphu.

The Special Advisor to the National Environment Commission and the first recipient of the award from Bhutan, Dasho Paljor J Dorji said,  “It is a dream come true that many young researchers in Bhutan can work on it and make a name for themselves.” 

An official from the Bhutan Ecological Society, Pema Eden said, “It particularly merits people who have gone beyond the normal call-of-duty in their service towards environmental protection.” 

“The significance of the award is to honour people from diverse backgrounds who have contributed to ensuring the security and sustainability of Bhutan’s environment,” she said. 

The award consists of a certificate signed by the Patron and a cash prize of Nu 150,000. He was chosen from 24 nominees. 

Karma Wangdi, the award recipient said that it was a surprise. “I am extremely grateful for this award which directly comes from the vision of His Majesty the Fourth King of conserving our environment.” 

He wants to continue his hobby of butterflies and moths taxonomy to contribute towards discovering species in Bhutan. “I would like to encourage everyone to continue one’s passion as we have diverse scopes in the field of research and discovery,” said Karma Wangdi.  

Karma’s most significant achievement has been his re-discovery of the Ludlowi Bhutan Swallowtail (Bhutanitis Ludlow) in 2009 at Tobrang in Trashiyangtse. It has been designated as Bhutan’s national butterfly and was also gifted by His Majesty the King to the Butterfly Society of Japan. 

Karma Wangdi has discovered a total of 60 moth species, of which 34 are new to Bhutan, and 26 are new to science. He has worked on 21 research and journal publications in collaboration with international researchers.  

With over 25 years of service, Karma has contributed to the promotion, understanding, and conservation of Bhutan’s natural heritage.

The winners were nominated by the public and selected by a high-level award committee. The award is coordinated and hosted by the Bhutan Ecological Society.

The Jigme Singye Wangchuck Outstanding Environmental Stewardship Award was initiated to recognise and honour exceptional individuals who have made significant contributions to environmental conservation in Bhutan. The award is given every two years. 

The award was instituted at the launch of the Bhutan Ecological Society on June 5, 2010, coinciding with World Environment Day.