Bhutan signs conservation agreement at Field Museum Jan. 22

In the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan, conservation reigns

CHICAGO The Field Museum, Government of Bhutan and World Wildlife Fund are combining forces to save one of the most pristine and biologically important places on Earth.

The Bhutanese Minister of Agriculture will sign an agreement between the three parties at The Field Museum at 10:30 on Jan. 22. The agreement calls for joint scientific studies of Bhutans wildlife, training programs for Bhutanese conservationists, and development of the countrys biodiversity museum and research center.

This new collaboration will add further value to our conservation efforts, says Lyonpo Kinzang Dorji, Bhutans Minister of Agriculture. We also consider this a wider acknowledgement of Bhutans commitment to conserve its rich biodiversity and well-preserved environment.

In Bhutan, which is nestled in the Himalayan Mountains between China and India, a powerful Buddhist conservation ethic has left about 72% of the natural forest intact. Meanwhile, the government protects about one-third of the land, an incredibly high percentage. Today, however, the challenge is to preserve Bhutan as an environmental jewel.

Training; mammal and bird inventory; museum The first role of The Field Museum will be to develop a training program for Bhutanese biodiversity specialists. WWF has already played an important role in building the capacity of Bhutanese nationals on biodiversity conservation, says Sangay Wangchuck, director of Bhutans Nature Conservation Division. With this new arrangement, benefits are likely to increase manifold to help the Royal government manage the countrys rich biological resources.

In addition, the museum will collaborate with the Bhutanese on the first comprehensive inventory of the countrys birds and mammals.

We will investigate the evolutionary and biogeographical history of the birds and mammals, says John Bates, assistant curator of birds at The Field Museum.

Contact: Greg Borzo
Field Museum

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