English | Dzongkha Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Bat ecotourism potential in Lamthang Chiwog

Pema Samdrup, Zhemgang
Jan 3, 2018

People of Lamthang under Goshing Gewog in Zhemgang have discovered a new avenue, which they feel, could be suitable for promotion of eco-tourism. Some caves in their community serve as a roosting place for hundreds of bats.

About half an hour walk, away from the road head, in between a densely covered forest is the cavity. Inside, one can see hundreds of bats roosting. The smell in the area is pungent and the ultrasonic sound, deafening.

A little higher to this opening is another roosting cave for bats. The smell and sound are no different than the first cave indicating the number of bats roosting inside is in hundreds. “I think there are over a million bats inside. We don’t see them during daytime as they come out only at night to search for food,” said, Zangpo, the Tshogpa of Lamthang Chiwog.

Others were of same view too. “We exactly we don’t know when and where they go. We are told the whole area is filled with bats. They emit a weird sound. We don’t know much about bats,” said Wangda, a villager.

Elderly people in the community say, for centuries, the caves have been roosting places for bats. They said although traditional beliefs are that bats bring misfortune, nothing bad has befallen on the village so far.

Meanwhile, the gewog administration feels the roosting place could help in promoting eco-tourism in the region. The office is now planning to put up a proposal to the dzongkhag administration.

“We are targeting foreign tourists. But before we open the area to them, we will have to come up with rules and regulations on bat watching. As we plan, we need to seek approval from the government as well,” added the Tshogpa.

Locals say, so far, a few veterinary officials have visited the area for survey. And if approved, they said, it could be the first bat watching site in the country.

 

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