The protected areas of Bhutan are its national parks, nature preserves, and wildlife sanctuaries. Most of these protected areas were first set aside in the 1960s, originally covering most of the northern and southern regions of Bhutan. Today, protected areas cover more than 42% of the kingdom, mostly in the northern regions. Protected areas also line most of Bhutan's international borders with China and India.
Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve
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Jigme Dorji National Park
With an area of 4,349 sq. km, the Jigme Dorji National Park is the largest protected area in Bhutan. It is one of the most biologically rich areas in the Eastern Himalayan region and stretches from warm broad-leaved forests to permanent ice fields and glaciers on Bhutan’s north-western border.
The monsoon rains and a varied topographical gradient, from just over 1,000 meters to more than 7,000 meters above sea level, account for this rich plant and animal diversity.
Sacred peaks such as Jomolhari, Tsherimgang and Jichu Drakey are prominent landmarks in the park. Glaciers and glacial lakes are interspersed in the mountains forming important headwaters for some of Bhutan’s main rivers.
The alpine region houses numerous flowers such as the national flower blue poppy, edelweiss, orchids and rhododendrons among many others.
Charismatic animal species like the Snow Leopard, Takin, Tiger, Black Bear, Blue Sheep and Red Panda inhabit the forests and mountains of the park. This may be the only place in the world where the Royal Bengal tiger and snow leopard habitats overlap. Most of Bhutan’s most popular trekking routes can be found inside the Jigme Dorji National Park.