Bhutan, due to its geographical location can very well be termed as one of the greatest mishmash of nature’s wonders when it comes to its biological diversity that is pregnant with an indomitable richness of flora and fauna. The climatic conditions of the country that vary every now and then with altitude make the country, the perfect home to some of the most enchanting species of the plant as well as the animal kingdom.
From the geographical point of view the country is divided into 3 separate zones – Subtropical Zone that starts at 150 meters and extends up to 200 meters and is rich with tropical and subtropical plantations, Temperate Zone, that starts from 2000 meters and extends up to 4000 meters, and rich in conifer forests, and the Alpine Zone that starts at an altitude of 4000 meters and is devoid of any vegetation whatsoever.
You will find nearly 46 species of Rhododendrons and more than 300 varieties of medicinal plants, not to mention the Junipers, Orchids, Magnolias, Edelweiss, Blue Poppies (Bhutan’s national flower), Gentian, medicinal herbs, Giant Rhubarb, Daphne, Oak, Pine, and many more!
Amongst animals, Bhutan is home to snow leopards, red pandas, blue sheep, takin, musk deer marmots, gorals, gray langurs, Himalayan black bears, sambars, red pandas, wild pigs, golden langurs, elephants, barking deer, clouded leopards, one horned water Rhinoceros, horn bills, swamp deer, buffalos, hog deer, gaurs, and many other species along with a wide variety of local and over 50 species of migratory birds.
Tourists can visit places like Jigme Dorji National Park, Royal Manas National Park, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, TrumshingLa National Park, Torsa Strict Nature Reserve, Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Wangchuck Wildlife Sanctuary, to get a glimpse of the animals. And if you are lucky enough, you can even come across Bengal tigers between the altitude of 3000 and 4000 meters!
Jigme Dorji National Park
This is the Bhutan’s 2nd largest National sanctuary that is home to 37 species of animals that include some of the endangered ones like snow leopard, takin, clouded leopard, bharal, Bengal Tiger, Himalayan black bear, red panda, black musk deer, Indian wild dog or dhole, marmot and so on, and over 300 species of birds. It is only in this park, where you will come across the national animal (takin), the national flower (blue poppy), the national bird (raven), and the national tree (cypress) of Bhutan – all cohabiting together!
Royal Manas National Park
This is the oldest national sanctuary of Bhutan, and is comprised of a total area of 408 sq miles.
The park houses tropical forests as well as ice fields and hence is home to a diverse range of animal species that include gaurs, Bengal Tigers, elephants, golden langur that is an extremely rare species, pygmy hog, Ganges River Dolphins, one-horned rhinos, water buffaloes, and innumerable types of birds including 4 types of Hornbills (Great Indian Hornbills, Wreathed Hornbills, Rufous-necked Hornbills and Pied Hornbills). The park also houses the Manas River as well as its tributaries that are home to some rare migratory fishes like Tor tor or deep-bodied mahseer, Tor putitora or golden mahseer, and the Katle or Chocolate mahseer.