WWF’s conservation activities impact over 65,000 individuals

In a journey of resilience and adaptability, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Bhutan in its conservation efforts have positively impacted over 65,000 individuals across 12 districts in Bhutan.

The WWF’s tiger conservation initiative is centered around understanding the feelings of communities living in tiger habitats and conflict areas, in order to develop effective strategies for coexistence.

Through people-centered Tiger Conservation Project, WWF Bhutan provided seed money of Nu 5.6 million to Drakteng gewog in Trongsa for the establishment of gewog Tiger Conservation Tshogpa in the last fiscal year. These interventions are aimed at mitigating human-tiger conflicts by 50% in Drakteng gewog and improve the human-tiger conflict reporting, response, and compensation payment mechanism by 2024.

WWF Bhutan is committed to translating national sustainability goals into actionable plans, with a focus on overcoming barriers to green growth. This includes sharing knowledge, building capacity, transferring technology, and securing financing. One example of their efforts is the biogas plant in SamdrupJongkhar municipality, which diverts waste from landfills and provides biogas for the local college.

In Jomotshangkha, a 50-meter-wide buffer space between two different farms were maintained to ensure elephants move freely. Instead of fencing the whole farms in a village together, people are encouraged to fence every field separately to maintain elephant’s route as it is. It has benefited close to 100 households in Phuntshothang, Namchazor, and Agurthang.

A total of 27 Water User Groups were formed to strengthen water management at community level. This would benefit over 665 households and three schools, around 4,450 people living in the project landscape.

The office is also dedicated to improving the country’s solar service sector through training programs.

Reflecting the past, Chimi Rinzin, the country director of WWF Bhutan said, “Amidst this transition, the role of WWF became imperative in highlighting and ensuring the recognition of the nature protection as the cornerstone of sustainable economic progress.”

Activities of WWF demonstrates our commitment to adjusting our conservation approach, promoting inclusivity, and acknowledging the interconnectedness of people and nature for a sustainable future.

In 2021, WWF Bhutan, in collaboration with the Department of Forests and Park Services, conducted a pilot eDNA survey in the Mangdechhu basin. Following its success, efforts are underway to integrate the use of eDNA technology in national conservation initiatives. eDNA, an advanced conservation technology, involves collecting genetic materials like skin cells, scales, and feces left behind by wildlife for species identification through amplification, sequencing, and DNA extraction. Notably, the application of eDNA in Bhutan led to the discovery of the previously unknown Namdapha flying squirrel, marking a significant find. Overall, this innovative tool has identified over 600 species in the country to date.

A total of 1330 (1177 male and 165 female) rangers including the Director and Chief Forestry Officers were trained on adopted ranger code of conduct.

In mitigating GHG emissions from waste sector, over 9500 residents segregate waste in Samdrupjongkhar Thromde.

To ensure communities generate benefits from rich biodiversity resources, the IKI living landscape project supported the development of five ecotourism sites that will benefit 21,740 people in the past one year.

Training on nursery management and training were conducted as part of the IKI Living landscape project for 37 officials from UWIFoRT and project landscape.

The country director said that the WWF Bhutan have made operational changes to strengthen critical functions, align programs, and improve processes in order to double our conservation impacts in the upcoming strategic plan cycle. Significant increases in the tiger and snow leopard populations this year, thanks to the collective efforts of conservation champions, partners, donors, the Royal Government of Bhutan, and the Department of Forests and Park Services was also celebrated which signify the importance of partnerships across different sectors.

WWF is Bhutan’s oldest conservation partner. Beginning in 1977 by supporting capacity development of local conservation staff, the support gradually evolved into a full country program with several collaborative conservation projects. WWF Bhutan has been supporting the royal government and people of Bhutan in a number of conservation efforts to protect and conserve Bhutan’s natural capital and the immense biological diversity.

Sangay Rabten from Thimphu