Bhutan in friendship park bid
Guwahati: Bhutan has proposed a friendship park along the Indo-Bhutan border.
Bhutan suggested this at the Transboundary Manas Conservation Area (TraMCA) meeting in Thimphu, Bhutan, on December 21-22. Forest officials of Manas National Park and Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan, representatives of WWF from both countries and officials from the forest department of Bhutan participated in the meeting.
A source said the idea is to have a common conservation unit along this international border.
Bhutan has proposed the park on the occasion of 50 years of Indo-Bhutan friendship. India and Bhutan have agreed to celebrate this year as the golden jubilee of the establishment of formal diplomatic ties between the two neighbours. Buthan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck had met President and Prime Minister of India in November last year in New Delhi where he had accepted the President's invitation for a state visit to India this year for the anniversary.
Manas National Park director Hiranya Sarma said the concept was good and forward-looking for conservation. "Bhutan will have to move India for a friendship park," he said.
Bhutan has proposed Phibsoo wildlife sanctuary and adjoining areas covered by Ripu Chirang reserve forests in Kokrajhar districts of Assam for the friendship park. The source said the only constraint on the Indian side is that Ripu Chirang is not a protected area. The Bodoland Territorial Council, on the other hand, has shown positive interest in the proposal.
TraMCA encompasses the whole of Manas tiger reserve in India and a group of protected areas in southern Bhutan. The Manas tiger reserve in India and Bhutan's Royal Manas National Park form the core of this transboundary area, which is home to species like tiger, elephant, rhino, pygmy hog, Bengal florican, hispid hare and more than 1,500 other species.