Brown Pine and Particoloured Squirrel discovered in December and 2014
Environment: Phrumsengla National Park (PNP) added two new species to its rich biodiversity with the discovery of Brown Pine (Podocarpus nerrifolious) and Particoloured Flying Squirrel (Hylopetes alboniger) in December last year and in 2014 respectively.
PNP research team led by forestry officer, Rinchen Wangchuk discovered Brown Pine from Parang in Saling of Mongar in December. Particoloured Flying Squirrel was spotted in Obi village in Lhuentse by the park’s Metsho gewog Risup (gewog forest representative), Sonam Dorji in July 2014.
“It is new species to the park because Brown Pine wasn’t included in its earlier tree species list,” Rinchen Wangchuk said.
“The Flying squirrel was spotted for the first time in the park and it certainly is a new record for PNP,” its chief forest officer, Ugyen Namgyel stated in a report.
According to PNP’s report, Brown Pine as per book titled “Flora of Bhutan,” belongs to the family of Podocarpaceae, which represents the broadleaf species although when based on its leaf morphology, it is a conifer species. The research team recorded a total of 23 pole sized Brown Pine besides 179 seedlings on the ground.
“Brown Pine is thriving inside the park with sound stand and profuse regeneration too,” Rinchen Wangchuk said.
PNP’s report also states that International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has not assessed Brown Pine to determine its status as of now.
With regard to its regional distribution, Brown Pine is recorded in some South Asian countries but not in Bhutan. The park’s report also states that a book titled “Flora of Bhutan” by the Royal Botanic Garden at Edinburgh in London of United Kingdom also lack information on specific distribution of Brown Pine in Bhutan.
PNP’s report however states that confining its distribution to only Buyang in Trashiyangtse, Dorji, Y (2010) of Millennium Consultancy Services recognized Brown Pine in Bhutan as a critically endangered species in his “Red Data List for the Flowering Plants of Bhutan”.
A survey team recently claimed sighting of one Brown Pine tree few kilometers from Dakphai along the Dakphai-Buli road in Zhemgang.
Meanwhile, Ugyen Namgyel’s report on Particoloured Flying Squirrel claimed the rodent likely to be new to Bhutan as no past written document on its earlier sighting was found.
Tempa Wangdi, Bumthang