Brief history: The Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) was established in 1987 as a citizen-based NGO devoted to the conservation of Bhutan’s unique environment. RSPN has evolved to a complementary partner to the Royal Government of Bhutan in preservation of the country’s rich natural heritage. It is a non-profit Public Benefit Organization registered with the Civil Society Organizations Authority governed by a seven-member Board of Directors. The Executive Director is the head of the organization and manages the day-to-day affairs. RSPN enjoyed the Royal Patronage of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan from 1999 until 2012. The Queen of Bhutan, Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck is the current Royal Patron.
Vision: Future generations of Bhutan will live in an environmentally sustainable society
Mission: To inspire personal responsibility and active involvement of the people of Bhutan in the conservation of the Kingdom’s environment through education, research, and sustainable livelihood opportunities.
ASAP Species That We Work On
What We Do
RSPN focused on conserving key threatened species and their habitats.
White-bellied Heron (WBH) conservation
The critically endangered WBH, Ardea insignis, is the world’s rarest heron and was first spotted in Bhutan by His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1975. Under His Majesty’s command, the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) has carried out the conservation work since 2003.
The WBH international conference held in Thimphu December 2015 confirmed that there were less than 60 individuals worldwide. Bhutan supports half of the 60 WBH known to survive in the world. WBH are secretive birds, intolerant of close proximity to human settlements. Disturbance from humans and loss of habitat has attributed to their extirpation over much of their former distribution ranges in the Himalayan foothills.
In Bhutan, WBHs are found in the river basins of Punatsang Chu and, Mangde Chu, at the altitudes ranging from 100-1,500 masl. Today, the number of birds stands at 27 individuals in Bhutan (RSPN survey report; March 2020). Fewer than six breeding pairs are documented and this small genetic pool is of immediate concern. RSPN has embarked on comprehensive programs to enhance WBHs conservation.
- Population monitoring and nesting survey
- Study of foraging and nesting ecology
- Habitat assessment and restoration
- Wild egg collection and tag satellite telemetry of the post--edged juveniles.
- Establishment of WBH Conservation Center.
- Wild egg collection for breeding to release to the wild.
Where We Work
RSPN works across Bhutan in collaboration with Government, universities, research centres, and conservation NGOs. In field RSPN partners with local communities, school and student groups in initiatives encompassing the following themes:
- Black-necked Crane conservation
- White-bellied Heron conservation
- Waste management for human health and environment
- Climate change adaptation and mitigation
- Agro-ecological farming
- Wetland conservation
- Water for livelihoods
- Rivers for life
- Community-based Sustainable Eco-tourism
- Environmental education for change
The conservation works aims at addressing conservation issues, both at the national and global arenas.
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