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Monpa, the Early Settlers of Bhutan in Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park and Conservation Strategy

Letro Letro, Sangay Wangchuk


Monpas are aboriginal Bhutanese who inhabited the forests around Black Mountains in Bhutan. They lived their lives gathering food and materials from the forests, however, their livelihood activities are now shifting towards modern economy with coming of new settlements. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered for three Monpa villages within the administrative boundary of the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in Bhutan. Modern education came very recently to the communities of Monpa and they still depend widely on agriculture, arts and crafts and on livestock farming. Such a practice of livelihood activities forms a perfect platform for conflict between the conservationist and communities. Recognizing the importance of communities in conservation efforts, Royal Government of Bhutan prioritized developmental initiatives for Monpas. Many Integrated Conservation Development Programs were initiated by the park to address some of the social issues and to garner support from communities for conservation. With the initiation of many conservation activities centered on the Monpas, they seem to have high regards to conservation, however they expect the park authorities to help them set-up electric fence around their fields to reduce conflicts with wild-life. We put on record that biodiversity conservation shall only be achieved if the conservation and developmental philosophies co-exists, thus understanding the drivers effecting biodiversity conservation forms the vital ingredients for any conservation efforts to be successful.


Bhutan; Conservation; Livelihood; Protected Areas

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