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Takins adapting well in Sakteng

Wildlife: Two female and two male takins (Budorcas taxicolor whitei) translocated to the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) in Trashigang are acclimatising well to their new habitat according to the sanctuary and wildlife rescue and rehab centre in Thimphu.

Four takins, one of which was secured from the wild, was released in SWS in March this year.

While two male takins and one female were taken from the Motithang Takin Preserve, the second male was secured from Damji. “They are in good health,” an official from SWS said.

Department of Forest and Parks Services director Phento Tshering said the takin was introduced into the park following Royal Command of His Majesty The King. “They were introduced in SWS to see if it can thrive there since the sanctuary has similar elevation and environment to the animal’s habitats in the west,” Phento Tshering said.

According to SWS, the four takins were released in Chebling under Merak. But they have now separated and are in different locations. “Both the males have separated from the two females who are sticking together ,” the SWS official said.

SWS, famed among environmentalists as the “Paradise of Rhododendrons” is located in the eastern most part of the country covering Merak, Sakteng and Samdrupjongkhar in the south.

Besides boasting of 35 of the total 46 rhododendron species in the country, the park was also one of the eight sites to have made to the tentative list of UNESCO cultural heritage sites in 2012.

The sanctuary also shelters 203 species of trees including shrubs and herbs. SWS is also known for its faunal diversity for being home to globally threatened and endangered animals like the Red Panda, Capped langur and Musk deer. It also records around 20 species of mammals and 147 bird species.

Wildlife Rescue and Rehab Centre deputy chief forest officer Kinzang Gyeltshen said that all the four takins have been radio-collared to study their movements from the place of their release on March 11. The rescue and rehab centre has been collecting data of their movement every five hours.

“As of yesterday, both the males have been found above Khaling though in separate locations, while the two females are between the Merak and Sakteng border,” Kinzang Gyeltshen said.

Meanwhile, if found favourable, more takins will be translocated to SWS. “If there is over population here then the department might have to translocate some of them in the near future,” Phento Tshering said.

SWS has also been named as one of the probable areas to introduce the snow leopard as per the 2014-2016 national snow leopard survey.

Tempa Wangdi

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