No matter the weather, terrain, or season, our dedicated foresters and rangers have fearlessly traversed rough terrains, often coming into conflict with poachers and risking their lives. Their unwavering commitment is a testament to the mandate set forth by our wise leadership. Bhutan is known for its rich biological diversity, yet the efforts to preserve it have remained relatively unknown.

The men and women in green (foresters/rangers) play a crucial role in preserving and protecting threatened species and their habitats. The Sarpang forest office, its officers, and policy-makers all deserve recognition for their vital contributions to our conservation efforts, which are like a spring in our step.

The vast forested areas in the south, bordering India, serve as a safe sanctuary for wildlife. If animals could speak, they would undoubtedly express gratitude to Bhutan and her leaders, who prioritize wildlife protection even amidst economic sacrifices. This deep respect for animals, whether wild or domestic, is rooted in our Buddhist beliefs and serves as a driving force behind our preservation efforts.

Poaching and wildlife trade are lucrative global businesses, worth millions of dollars. Despite the risks involved, preventing these activities is a cause worthy of our efforts. The team’s commendable work includes minimising wildlife poaching, combating illegal wildlife trade, and addressing human-wildlife conflicts in the region, while also conducting exemplary monitoring and community education initiatives—a struggle faced by many nations without much success.

The recognition comes with a cash prize, but the true reward lies in living up to the expectations of our leaders, who prioritised environmental conservation as a top concern. This recognition arrives at a critical time when many nations grapple with man-made natural disasters, such as heatwaves, flash floods, droughts, and wildfires, wreaking havoc worldwide.

As a small nation, our individual contributions may not be substantial, but our identity lies in being a country that lives closely with the nature. We are proud to be home to approximately 50 percent of the total global population of endangered white-bellied herons, with the largest known number of breeding pairs. Our cold mountains provide a secure haven for Bengal tigers, which once thrived in the plains of the Ganges.

Lyonpo Loknath Sharma’s acknowledgment of the rangers as unsung heroes of conservation is a befitting compliment. Without their dedication, we could have easily become just another country driven solely by economic development, with smaller groups profiting from illegal wildlife trade and poaching.

Kudos to our foresters and rangers; their recognition underscores Bhutan’s unique identity as a country committed to protecting and preserving its natural treasures.