English | Dzongkha Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A losing battle?

Nov 30, 2011

Park officials in the Jigme Dorji National Park are struggling to protect the flora and the fauna from poachers.

The park, named after the third king and covering more than 4,000 square kilometres, is home to about 2,000 species of plants and animals.

The biggest constraint in its fight against poachers is manpower shortage. The park has only seven men to patrol the area.

“We have horses but not all the areas are accessible by horse. Most of the time, we walk, carrying our bedding and ration. Often, we get lost and cannot reach our campsite,” says Gyeltshen, a park official.

“When we catch poachers, we confiscate the goods and take the poachers and send them across the border.”

Apprehending the poachers is no easy task. The park officials are almost always outnumbered by poachers.

“They come in hundreds and we are just seven people. They chase us with stones. There’s nothing we can do but run.”

Though the park officials are equipped with a firearm each, they are not allowed to use them.

Waste is also proving to be problem. According to park officials, some areas of the park are littered with discarded plastics and bottles left behind by the poachers.

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