Over the last few years I’ve had the good fortune of travelling to secluded parts of my country but I realize how many more there are yet to visit. This special journey took me to the north eastern part of Bhutan – Merak and Sakteng (yes these are two similar yet very different places) in Trashigang.

I’m taking you into Sakteng Wlidlife Sanctuary in this special collaboration with the Nature Conservation Division Department of Forest and Park Services. This is a journey not just showing you the natural beauty of this biodiversity treasure of Bhutan. But also an education on the many efforts by DoF protecting the national parks of Bhutan.

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

But there’s more that makes SWS special. It’s the people who live here – the Brokpas, a special group of highlander tribe from the northeastern part of Bhutan. From exploring an unseen trail to the abode of Aum Jomo, being part of the Brokpas’ unique traditions, the natural landscape of SWS to the stories of the people working in protecting the park – I want to make this adventure yours as well.

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

How much do you know about National Parks in Bhutan?

Before I finally take you into Merak, here’s some information on biodiversity conservation. Also with what we need to know about National Parks and Protected Areas in Bhutan. Bhutan’s constitution mandates that a minimum of 60 percent of the country should remain under forest cover for eternity. As of 2016 there is now 70.59 percent of forest cover in Bhutan. Environmental conservation also is one of the pillars of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness developmental philosophy. But how much do we know about how this vision is put to work?

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhutan’s commitment to forest conservation comes to life in the many efforts carried out in the country’s national parks and protected areas. Much of it is done by Forest Rangers & Forest officers. Currently we have a total of 10 National Parks and 8 biological corridors (BCs connect all protected areas together into a single uninterrupted landscape providing free movement to wild animals)

Brokpa Tribe living in the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

But the efforts of protecting these designated zones are constantly challenged. With issues such as deforestation, poaching, human wildlife conflict, modernization and so much more. This makes the responsibility of the agencies involved way beyond just conservation but also providing livelihood to communities that live in these parks.

Himalayan Monal in Bhutan

My journey is to bring to you ONE of the parks in Bhutan and the story of the park’s natural treasure, people, challenges and the many efforts that go into making this commitment of biodiversity protection a reality. This is the journey into the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary and we start off with Merak that is one of the main communities in SWS.

Read my other blogs in the Merak Sakteng Series