Jigme Dorji National Park


Bhutan’s largest park—1,679 square miles (4,349 km2)—and biologically one of the richest on the subcontinent. In its eight vegetational habitat zones, from riverine along its many streams to alpine meadows and scrub, in altitudes ranging from 4,600–23,000 feet (1,400–7,000 m) live rare beautiful snow leopards, takins, blue sheep, red pandas, golden leaf langur monkeys. Bird rarities include crimson-breasted blood pheasants, spectacular turquoise, purple, and red Himalayan monals and satyr tragopans, once thought extinct. As with other Bhutan parks, visitor facilities are largely in the planning stage, although trekking is permitted.

ALSO OF INTEREST

Sakten Wildlife Sanctuary, 250 square miles (650 km2)—reputed habitat of migoi, Bhutanese term for yeti or “abominable snowmen,” covered except for their faces in fur that can be reddish brown to black, seldom seen, perhaps because Bhutanese yetis have the power to become invisible, and their backward-facing feet make them hard to track.

Khaling/Neoli Wildlife Sanctuary, 105 square miles (273 km2) in southeasternmost Bhutan protects tigers, leopards, Indian elephants, gaur, possibly pygmy hogs, and hispid hares.

Phipsoo Sanctuary in southwest, with the only remaining Bhutanese sal forest, protects Bhutan’s only chital deer, also axis deer, Asian elephants, gaur, golden langurs, tigers, on 106 square miles (278 km2).

Thrumshing La National Park, 296 square miles (768 km2) east of Black Mountains, believed home of red pandas, has over 30 species of rhododendrons in a “park-within-a-park.” Remarkably, a tiger recently was sighted at 12,000 feet (3,660 m) in this park.


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