The recognition was awarded at the first bird festival, which opened in Tingtibi, a hotspot for birds
Festival: Work of three conservationists, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment’s ornithologist Sherab, the dean of College of Natural Resources Dr D B Gurung and the principal research officer of Renewable Natural Resources Research Center, Wengkhar Tshering Penjore were awarded the Jigme Singye Wangchuck outstanding environmental stewardship yesterday in Tingtibi, Zhemgang.
Their work was honoured as Bhutan opened its first three-day bird festival in Tingtibi to commemorate the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. The festival opened with an unveiling of a painting of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo sighting a White-bellied Heron at Lekithang in Punakha in 1973.
Ornithologist Sherub was awarded for his contribution in the study of birds of Bhutan and Tshering Penjore for improvising low cost fabricated electric fence. Dr D B Gurung was recognised for improving the academic standards and contribution in the study of orchids and aqua diversity.
Tingtibi, which is hosting the festival is a much sought after venue by bird watchers from across the world. Tingtibi is also home to the critically endangered, White-bellied Heron (Ardeainsignis).
The place is also a hotspot for Great Hornbill (Bucerosbicornis), Rufous-necked Hornbill (Acerosnipalensis), Beautiful Nuthatch (Sitta Formosa), Ward’s Trogon (Harpacteswardii) and the White-hooded Babbler (Gampsorhynchusrufulus).
Lately, Tingtibi has also been the source of new birds such as the Oriental Bay Owl (Pholidusbadius), Hodgson’s Frogmouth (Batrachostomushodgsoni) and Blyth’s Kingfisher (Alcedohercules).
Agriculture and forests minister, Yeshey Dorji who opened the festival said the event is observed to promote 2015 as a Visit Bhutan year for tourists.
“Bhutan must thank His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo whose visionary leadership in environmental conservation has enabled the country to be recognised as one country with rich biodiversity,” lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said.
The festival is celebrated in Zhemgang to also enable people and conservationists to come together in conserving its bird species, which can now be easily spotted.
“Since, people of Khengrig Namsum are highly skilled in bamboo craft, it is the government’s intention to help attract more tourists to promote sale of indigenous arts and craft products,” lyonpo said.
A record of over 695 different bird species despite its small area, according to the minister makes Bhutan one of the hotspots for bird watching.
“Every one of us must be proud to be able to discover new birds species often at a time when biodiversity and eco-systems are degrading in other countries,” he said.
The bird festival will be an annual event, Zhemgang dzongdag, Harka S Tamang said.
Several competitions such as bird photography and first birdathon were held to celebrate the festival while quiz competition on environment and biodiversity of Bhutan was held for students from Zhemgang, Tingtibi and Yebilaptsa schools.
Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests organised the Bhutan Bird festival.
Tempa Wangdi, Tingtibi