February 2, 2017
Blood samples have been sent to Bangkok, Thailand to establish the cause of death
Wildlife: Seventeen takins at the Motithang takin preserve in Thimphu died in less than a week since January 24 while three are under observation as of yesterday.
While officials from the Department of Forest refused to provide any information, Kuensel learnt that blood samples have been sent to Bangkok, Thailand to establish the cause of death. It is not known what caused the deaths of the takins that are scientifically known as
There were 30 takins at the reserve of which three are calves.
Veterinary officials said the takins suffered from breathing difficulty after which they died. Officials said that they are waiting for the results from Bangkok to understand what caused the breathing difficulties.
The takin zoo has been closed until further notice as it is yet to be confirmed whether or not it is infectious.
Protected under Schedule I of the Forest and Nature Conservation Act, the takin is the national animal of Bhutan. The takin is a threatened mammal native to the temperate and subtropical forests found in Bhutan, China, northeastern India, and northern Myanmar.
Legend has it that Lam Drukpa Kuenlay, a Tibetan saint created the animal in Bhutan. It is said that Lam Drukpa Kuenley fixed the head of a goat on the skeleton of the cow after which the animal sprang with life. It was then known as the takin.
The Motithang takin preserve was established in 1979 as a small zoo. It was later expanded over 19 acres of land. Besides the takins, the preserve is also home to other animals such as reindeer and gorals, among others.
Kinga Dema


Tiger spotted in Lamaigonpa in Bumthang

February 2, 2017
Wildlife: A camera trap set by a team from the Ugyen Wanchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) in Bumthang captured images of a tiger roaming in their research preserve near Lamaigonpa Dzong for the first time.
A male adult tiger was caught on cameras in the area on different occasions.
A tiger biologist of UWICE, Tshering Tempa, said the tiger was spotted walking towards the Lamaigonpa Dzong thrice since November last year. The tiger was caught on camera on November 2 last year, and January 14 and 17 this year.
He said this evidence backs up the claim of Bhutan being a potential habitat for tigers. “This is a great success story for our conservation policies and actions.”
He said the same tiger was caught on camera at Kikiphu above Tharpaling monastery in November last year.
Tshering Tempa said that this shows the tiger is able to successfully hunt and breed in high altitude mixed conifer and fir forests. “We have not captured any female and cub as of yet,” he said.
He also said camera trappings caught other endangered wildlife species like red panda, wild dog, musk deer, monal pheasant, common leopard, golden cat and the Himalayan black bear. “This shows that the research preserve is home to them.”
Many prey species such as wild pigs, sambar deer, barking deer, and serow were also captured by the camera traps.
The tiger biologist also said the tigers’ main prey are wild pig, sambar deer and barking deer, which is abundant in the locality.
He said the camera traps were set as a part of a long term wildlife monitoring effort in the UWICE research preserve, which started in May last year. “More than 50 remote camera traps are set in the 2,000 hectares research preserve. We monitor it every two months.”
The camera trapping exercise is carried out with financial support from the Bhutan Foundation and the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation.
The UWICE research preserve was established in 2014 for conducting forestry and wildlife research.
Nima Wangdi | Bumthang