Sunday, December 13, 2009
End of Week One
The Prime Minister has reported he will be attending and official invites will be going out to 140 other guests. We are also expecting groups of tourists from China, Japan and Bali. The draw for this festival is the unprecedented opportunity to view dances, sample foods, and witness competitions between 11 nomadic groups from 8 different dzongkhags (districts). These groups are all nomadic herders from the highlands of the Bhutanese Himalayas. The festival is the first big celebration for Wangchuck Centennial Park and, if successful, will be a huge tourist draw in the future. Attracting visitors to the park will bring much needed money to the locals and help WWF fund more projects. Because the Department of Forestry and WWF are working together on this initiative, the environment and the species it houses are the first priority.
Our week was thrown a curveball when a Himalayan Black Bear wandered into a nearby village (within the park) and decided two heads of cattle would be the easiest meal before going into hibernation next month. The call came in late Wednesday night and all the rangers were dispatched to help the villagers remove the bear from the area. It became apparent this did not work when more animals were found dead, with the number rising to 8 by Saturday evening. The next step is to find the bear before the villagers do and sedate it so it came be moved further away from the village. (The village council will likely also call an astrologer to determine which protective deity has been upset and a religious ceremony will be performed).
If each week is this eventful and busy I am in for quite a ride!