A half is not whole, because half is… well, how do you put it? It’s half! It’s not whole; it’s not complete. A half is not whole because a whole half is missing. Nature conservation is all about saving that patch of green wherever it may be on earth that conservation is in action. But that process is just half the action if the constituents of the natural environment aren’t accounted for within that process of conservation. Biodiversity is after all inclusive of floral and faunal aspects. And that’s what we’re here to highlight – the denizens of the wild, or should we say wildlife in the wild.
The march of progress, it has indeed brought much progress. But it has also plundered, pillaged and trampledall in its path (quite thoughtlessly most times). Everyone got a piece of their dreams. But that’s talking only about humankind. The natural environment and its constituents have only lost and lost. The spate of destruction on the natural environment in the name of human development knowingly takes into stride the loss of wildlife and its habitat. Add to that, the ills of poaching and wildlife trade is touching a high point wherein it has become a thorn in the side for everyone trying to do their best at conservation.
BBS Launch Article
Bhutan is home to exotic and endangered wildlife. But the country continues to lose it to poachers despite stringent measures. According to data from the Department of Forests and Park Services, Himalayan black bears, sambar deer and wild boar are some of the most commonly hunted animals in the last five years. To address the issue from a different angle, “Buddhist for Nature” initiative was launched. The initiative is a component of a broad awareness-raising effort in Southeast Asian nations, including Bhutan. The project is being implemented by the Bhutan Ecological Society with support from the International Buddhist Confederation, Nabu Internationale and # the International Alliance Against Health Risks in Wildlife Trade.
Bhutan is one of the world’s smallest countries. However, it is more dedicated to conservation than most. Bhutan has the largest forest cover in Asia, with 71% coverage. It is home to some of the world’s most exotic and endangered wildlife. Bhutan, on the other hand, is also a very spiritual country. Known as the last Sangrila, with over 84% of the population identifying as Buddhist, is one of the world’s last remaining Buddhist kingdoms.
Despite its spiritual value and diversity, Bhutan is not free of poaching, either transboundary or local. To combat this and supplement ongoing efforts, we launched the “Buddhist Wildlife Trade Demand Reduction Initiative in Southeast Asia”, a.k.a “Buddhist for Nature” project to increase awareness about illicit wildlife trade and poaching in Bhutan. The video below is part of the campaign’s launch.
Talk 1: Dr. Barbara Mass
Dr. Barbara Mass, Secretary for Environment and Conservation of the International Buddhist Federation, said “The ongoing pandemic, which has caused so much death and suffering around the world is the direct result of our exploitative relationship with nature. The Buddha’s taught about the inseparable interconnectedness of the wellbeing of humans, animals, plants, and their shared environment more than 2500 years ago. We overjoyed to support the people of Bhutan and our colleagues here in their efforts to put the Buddha’s message of wisdom and compassion towards all life into practice for the benefit of all beings.
Talk 2: Status of illegal Wildlife Trade and Poaching in Bhutan | Mr. Kinga Norbu
Bhutan is one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world, as well as the most spiritual. However, it is not devoid of poaching and wildlife trading. Mr.Kinga Norbu, a Senior Forest Officer with the Department of Forest and Park Services talked about the “Status of illegal Wildlife Trade and Poaching in Bhutan” as part of the Buddhist for Nature initiative which is being carried out in collaboration with the International Buddhist Confederation and NABU International Foundation for Nature. The initiative is part of a larger awareness-raising campaign in South Asia, including Bhutan, to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trading and poaching and to effect behavioral changes related to the exploitation of wild animals for food, medicine, and other purposes.
Talk 3: How Myth and Superstition are Encouraging Wildlife Trade and Poaching | Dr. Karma Phuntsho
We are pleased to present a talk by Dr. Karma Phuntsho titled “How Myth and Superstition are Encouraging Wildlife Trade and Poaching.” This talk is a part of the ongoing “Buddhist for Nature” initiative, which is being carried out in collaboration with the International Buddhist Confederation and NABU International Foundation for Nature. The initiative is part of a larger awareness-raising campaign in South Asia, including Bhutan, to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trading and poaching and to effect behavioral changes related to the exploitation of wild animals for food, medicine, and other purposes.
Talk 4: The Need of Wildlife Conservation from the Buddhist Perspective of Love and Compassion for all Sentient Creatures | His Holiness (HH) the 70th Jekhenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra
The Bhutan Ecological Society gratefully acknowledges the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan for allowing us to participate in the Kuenkhyen Kabum Jaklung (Oral Transmission) at Kuensel Phodrang. The month-long festival was presided over by His Holiness (HH) the 70th Jekhenpo, Trulku Jigme Choedra, and was attended by nearly 15000 monks and devotees. H.H graciously volunteered to speak about the need of wildlife conservation from the Buddhist perspective of love and compassion for all sentient creatures. This is part of the ongoing “Bhutan for Nature” project
HH also presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the Bhutan Ecological Society during this ceremony to recognize our efforts through the project.
Winners of the B4N Art competition titled “Stop illegal Wildlife Trade!”
We are happy to announce that we received more than 500 entries from across the country for the art competition themed “Stop illegal wildlife trading!.” The competition was a component of a larger awareness-building campaign for the “Buddhist Initiative to Reduce Wildlife Trade Demand in Southeast Asia” project, also known as “Buddhist for Nature.” On August 19th, the initiative was launched in Thimphu.
Article : Buddhist Wildlife Trade Demand Reduction Initiative in Southeast Asia
As part of the “Buddhist for Nature” awareness campaign, the BES has published an article titled ” Buddhist Wildlife Trade Demand Reduction Initiative in Southeast Asia” in the Happiness Journal. The magazine reaches approximately 40 schools in Bhutan and is also available on the Ministry of Education’s E-Library Portal, extending the journal’s reach and increasing its efficacy in making an impact digitally.
As part of the “Buddhist for Nature” project BES will plant over 1000 tree saplings at Kuensel Phodrang in Thimphu
This year, BES will plant over 1000 high-value fruit and timber tree seedlings in an effort to restore the Kunselphodrang’s fallow stretches of land. This initiative is part of the Buddhist for Nature project, which aims to raise awareness on illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching via the Buddhist concept of compassion and love for all sentient beings.
We believe that Kuenselphodrang, which contains the famous Great Buddha Dordenma, exemplifies (as do many other sites) Bhutan’s spiritual beliefs and ethos, in the country. The program was launched in September 2022 by Dr. Barbara Maas, Secretary for Environment and Conservation of the International Buddhist Confederation.
Dr. Maas paid a visit to the Royal Thimphu College where she met with the environmental ethics undergraduates and gave them a presentation on the ongoing initiative.
We are launching the #Pledegtoprotect campaign to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trade and poaching. This is part of the larger campaign in the South East Asia. Please scan the QR code to learn about the project and make your pledge to help push this noble cause forward.