“It’s never easy staying away from loved ones and wandering in the forests,” a ranger, Tshewang Lhamo, said.

She was among the 100 or so women rangers gathered in Thimphu to mark the World Ranger Day yesterday.

The day, themed ‘Stand with the World’s Rangers’, was aimed at recognising women rangers in the country.

Today, the forestry department has 206 women foresters.

Forest officer, Tshering Zam said that the day was observed also to pay tribute to those foresters who sacrificed their lives in line of duty. The Thin Green Line Foundation estimates that around 100 rangers are killed in the line of duty every year.

The first batch of women in the forestry service were enrolled in 1996 in the two forestry institutions in Bhutan at the then Bhutan Forestry Institute at Taba and Natural Resources Training Institute, Lobesa.

The department also have women forester who have studied in Forestry College in India and abroad.

A former woman forester, Sonam Choden, said that the celebration of the day in honour of women rangers was a great boost for them.

Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said that Bhutan’s natural resources were also assets of the world and that protecting them contributed to the overall wellbeing of the planet.

“We’re also proud of the capacity development in our foresters, who have produced the reports that we launch today,” Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said.

As part of the celebrations, agriculture ministry launched nine publications including Druk Rangers Magazine volume 2, National Forest Inventory Report volume II, Tiger Action Plan 2018-2023, 50 years of environmental Journey in Bhutan, six technical and policy briefs, Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment in Kurichhu Watershed, A field guide of Medicinal plants of Bumthang, BTFEC Five Years Report, and 11 FYP Terminal Report of the ministry.

World Ranger Day is observed annually on July 31 and is celebrated by the International Ranger Federation’s (IRF) member associations, the Thin Green Line Foundation, and by organisations and individuals who support and acknowledge the work of forestry rangers worldwide.

The day was first celebrated in Bhutan in July 2017 in Thimphu.

The forest officials and guests gathered to mark the occasion yesterday also planted tree saplings above Samardzingkha.

Tshering Palden