Royal Manas National Park

Royal Manas National Park

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Description

Bhutan’s Pristine Wildlife Sanctuary

Introduction:
Royal Manas National Park is one of Bhutan’s most significant protected areas, renowned for its rich biodiversity, stunning landscapes, and unique cultural heritage. Located in the southern part of the country, it stretches across the districts of Sarpang, Zhemgang, Pemagatshel, and Trongsa. Covering an area of approximately 1,057 square kilometers (408 square miles), it is the oldest and largest national park in Bhutan. This article provides a comprehensive overview of Royal Manas National Park, including its history, biodiversity, conservation efforts, and attractions.

Historical Significance:
Royal Manas National Park was established in 1966, originally named “Manas Wildlife Sanctuary.” In 1993, it was granted the status of a national park and received its current name, “Royal Manas National Park.” The park is an essential part of Bhutan’s commitment to conservation and environmental protection. It forms a crucial link between the Indian protected areas of Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam and the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in Bhutan, creating a transboundary conservation corridor.

Biodiversity:
Royal Manas National Park is a biodiversity hotspot, harboring a wide array of flora and fauna. The park’s altitudinal variation, ranging from about 200 meters (656 feet) to over 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level, contributes to its diverse ecosystems. The park is home to over 900 species of plants, including various medicinal herbs and rare orchids. The tropical and subtropical forests in the lower regions give way to temperate and alpine forests at higher elevations.

Wildlife:
The park is a sanctuary for numerous endangered and rare species. It provides a habitat for several iconic species, such as the Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), Indian Elephant (Elephas maximus indicus), and the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis). Other significant mammals include the Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Gaur (Bos gaurus), Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), and the elusive Golden Langur (Trachypithecus geei).

Avifauna:
Royal Manas National Park is a haven for birdwatchers, boasting over 360 species of birds. Among them, the globally threatened species include the White-bellied Heron (Ardea insignis) and the Rufous-necked Hornbill (Aceros nipalensis). The park provides excellent opportunities for birdwatching, with various forest habitats supporting a diverse avian population.

Conservation Efforts:
As a critical wildlife sanctuary, Royal Manas National Park is under continuous conservation efforts. The park is managed by the Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS) in collaboration with local communities. Bhutan’s unique conservation philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) emphasizes the importance of maintaining environmental sustainability and harmony with nature. The park rangers and community-based forest guards play a pivotal role in safeguarding the park’s biodiversity and combating illegal activities like poaching and logging.

Cultural Heritage:
Apart from its ecological importance, Royal Manas National Park also holds cultural significance. The park is home to several indigenous communities, including the Tshangla, Lhotshampa, and Khengpa ethnic groups. These communities have coexisted with nature for generations and contribute to the park’s cultural heritage. Local traditions, folklore, and festivals are interwoven with nature, reflecting the deep connection between the people and the environment.

Tourism and Eco-tourism:
Royal Manas National Park offers a unique eco-tourism experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The park provides opportunities for trekking, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing. Visitors can explore the diverse landscapes, ranging from lush forests and grasslands to rugged mountain terrains. The park’s biodiversity and scenic beauty make it an ideal destination for nature lovers seeking an immersive wilderness experience.

Visitor Centers and Accommodation:
The park has established visitor centers at strategic locations to provide information and guidance to tourists. These centers offer educational exhibits about the park’s biodiversity, conservation efforts, and the importance of preserving the ecosystem. Accommodation options within or near the park include eco-lodges, guesthouses, and camping facilities, enabling visitors to experience the wilderness while minimizing their ecological footprint.

Sustainable Tourism Initiatives:
Bhutan places a strong emphasis on sustainable tourism, with policies in place to limit the number of visitors and promote responsible travel practices. The park’s eco-tourism initiatives align with Bhutan’s commitment to protecting its natural heritage while offering visitors an authentic and enriching experience.

Challenges and Conservation Outlook:
Despite the conservation efforts, Royal Manas National Park faces challenges such as habitat fragmentation, human-wildlife conflict, and illegal activities. Climate change also poses a threat to the park’s biodiversity. Continued vigilance, community engagement, and international cooperation are essential to ensure the long-term conservation and protection of this precious ecosystem.

Conclusion:
Royal Manas National Park stands as a shining example of Bhutan’s commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable development. Its rich biodiversity, cultural heritage, and unique eco-tourism opportunities make it a jewel in the country’s national park system. By preserving this ecological treasure, Bhutan continues to demonstrate its role as a global leader in conservation and a guardian of nature’s wonders.

Today Closed UTC+5.5

09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Monday
    09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Tuesday
    09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Wednesday
    09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Thursday
    09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Friday
    09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Saturday
    Day Off
  • Sunday
    Day Off

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