Bhutan Takin Festival 2011

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Jigme Dorji Wang­chuck National Park in col­laboration with Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) will orga­nise a 2-day takin festival in Tsharijathang, Gasa, in June this year.

The festival, which is a first of its kind, will show­case Bhutan’s rich natural heritage, raise awareness on conservation of biodiversity, create avenue and strive to­wards financial sustainabil­ity of the park. It will also help provide off-season eco-tourism and means of alter­native income opportunities to park residents, specifical­ly the upland communities.

The chief forest officer of the park, Phuntsho Thin­ley, said that Tsharijathang, which is officially about 4 days’ walk from Gasa, is the summer habitat of takins. More than 150 takins are found there in June.

He said that the festival is scheduled for June because not many tourists visit the country during the month. “This is a way to make tour­ists come throughout the year and to foster eco-tour­ism,” said Phuntsho Thinley.

The festival will be held on June 9 and 10. The locals will put up a variety of stalls for the visitors. The stalls will display cultural artifacts and textiles, dairy products, medicinal plants including cordyceps and incense, and educational materials on cordyceps, mushrooms and nature conservation. Docu­mentary films on the takin and Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park will be screened during the festival.

Cultural programmes like khuru, dego, and yak and horse riding will be orga­nized on the first day.

On the second day, visi­tors will be taken on a tour of the takin con­gregation ground at Tshari­jathang and observe takin behaviours for the whole day. They will be able to take photographs of takins and the saltlick areas. They will also trek around Tshari­jathang to see blue sheep and other mammals.

The festival will become an annual event. It is devot­ed to the takin because, be­sides being the national ani­mal, the presence of healthy populations of this species in the country epitomizes Bhutan’s fervent support and commitment towards nature conservation, said Phuntsho Thinley.

Some 350 takins, spread across various areas in dif­ferent seasons, are found in the Jigme Dorji National Park. Soe Thongphu above Dodena, Tsharijathang, Rimchhu, Tshachhuphug, Lunana, Ramena, and Tashithang are some of the areas where takins can be sighted.

Original story by Bhutan Observer

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