Described as a natural paradise, while the world mourns the loss of its ecology, Bhutan has emerged as an example to the international community, an icon of preservation policies, with about 70 percent of its land still under forest and a great variety of rare plant and wildlife species. Its constitution mandates that under any circumstance 60 percent of its area should remain under forest cover.
One of the ten biological hotspots of the world, Bhutan is home to over 5,400 species of plants, including 300 species of medicinal plants, some thriving even at 3,700m above. It has 369 species of orchids, of which 82 are unique to the mountain country. Bhutan also boasts of 46 rhododendron species.
Located between China and India, Bhutan’s terrain ranges from the sub-tropical foothills in the south, through the temperate zones, to dizzying heights of over 7,300 meters (24,000 feet). In Historical records, Bhutan was known as Lhojong Menjong ‘the Southern Valley of Medicinal Herbs.’ Besides these rare herbs, the Bhutanese seasons are reflected in full color by wildflowers and plants, which carpet the mountainsides.
While Bhutan as a winter roosting ground for Black Necked Cranes has been hugely emphasized, it is home to endangered species like the Satyr Tragopan, Ward’s Trogon, Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasants, Beautiful Nuthatch, Ibisbill, Rufous-necked Hornbill, White-bellied Heron, varieties of Wren Babblers, and others.
The country’s national animal, Takin, and other mammals like the Golden Langur, Common Langur, Capped Langer, Goral, Himalayan Black Bear, Golden-throated Martin and Flying Squirrel also live in Bhutan’s unsoiled terrains. The other is the Bengal Tiger, which is even seen at altitudes higher than it is supposed to be in.