With one of the most diverse eco-systems in the world, Bhutan harbours a rich array of plant and animal species. The country falls within the eastern himalayan biodiversity hotspot and is famous for its rich array of flora and fauna with some species not seen anywhere else in the world.
From the warm sub-tropical jungles in the south, temperate forests in the central regions and the alpine mountains in the north, Bhutan is truly a natural paradise. There are more than 200 species of mammals, 27 of which are globally threatened and 6,000 species of vascular and non-vascular plants out of which 94 percent are native species and 144 endemic to Bhutan.
Bhutan also has over 750 species of butterflies, more than what is recorded in the whole of North America.
In total there are 11,284 known species of animals, plants, birds and insects.
Some of the iconic species that makes Bhutan famous for its biodiveristy are the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Asian Elephant, Golden Langur, Snow Leopard, Red Panda, Hornbills, Black-necked Cranes and the critically endengered White Bellied Heron among others.
While the constitution of Bhutan mandates 60 percent forest coverage at all times, the country boasts more than 70 percent forest coverage as of now. 52 percent of the country is marked as protected areas and 20 percent as biological corridors.
Bird watching in Bhutan is a popular tourist activity. Zhemgang in central Bhutan is considered a birders’ paradise with over 70 percent of the total species of birds found here. Of the roughly 700 species of birds, 26 are endangered. The White Bellied Heron is one of the most critically endangered species of bird found in Bhutan. It is considered one of the 50 rarest bird species in the world. While there are only 60 herons in the world, 28 are believed to be in Bhutan.
Environmental conservation is Bhutan’s national priority and the country is well known in the world for its rich biodiversity and a strong commitment on its preservation. Due to Bhutan’s strong conservation efforts, the country received the ‘Champion of the Earth’ award in 2005 instituted by the United Nation’s Environment program.

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