Integrated Black-Necked Crane Conservation and Development Programme in Phobjikha.
Integrated Black-Necked Crane Conservation and Development Programme in Phobjikha.
This project sought to promote conservation of Phobjikha habitat, generally, and the Black-Necked Cranes (BNC), in particular through increased community participation on decision making that considered both the economic needs of the local people and the conservation of the BNC and development of community managed eco-tourism.

Inorder to acheive the above mentioned broad objectives, the project has initiated various activities through the active participation of the local communities for effective management of the project. with the introduction done by SGP the following components has been developed for the sustainability of the project:

1. The Black Necked Crane Festival:
Coinciding with the celebration of His Majesty's Birth Anniversary on 12th November, the Phobjikha Conservation Area Programme (PCAP) Committee with support from RSPN has successfully organized Annual Crane Festivals in Phobjikha Valley. The objective of the festival is to create awareness and promote the conservation of the cranes as well as to create avenues that would provide an alternative method of income to the local communities without degrading the natural flora and fauna of the valley.

2. Private Bamboo Plantation:
About 220 bamboo saplings have been planted by the local communities in their respective gardents with financial support from SPIEC, Japan.

3. Pilot Alternate Energy Project:
Funded by WWF Bhutan Programme, a pilot project for installation of three units of Pletric turbine/sets also known as the PICO is done. The aim of this project is to familiarize the local community with the importance and utility of different alternative source of energy and technology for mitigating negative environmental impacts.

4. Facilities for Crane Observation and Education Centre:
The project has Crane Observation and Education Centre with various observation and education equipments installed in the centre. Two local people have been identified as local guides and have been trained in the field of tourism.

5. Black Necked Crane Research and Monitoring:
Every year a research tour is conducted by RSPN and crane experts from the International Crane Foundation (ICF), covering all black necked crane habitats in Bhutan.

The project was implemented by Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN), one of the most active NGOs of Bhutan. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental conservation in Bhutan. It was founded in 1987 by Dasho Paljor J. Dorji and enjoys the Royal Patronage of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Bhutan Choetse Penlope Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. RSPN has constantly increased its institutional capacity and diversified its programs. RSPN is registered under the Companies Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan with special provision as a non-profit NGO.

RSPN's mission is to inspire personal responsibility and actively involve the people of Bhutan in the conservation of the Kingdom's Environment through education, applied research and information dissemination, in collaboration with concerned agencies and indigenous institutions.

RSPN with financial assistence from the GEF/sGP implemented the project 'Integrated Conservation and Development Program (ICDP) in Phobjikha Valley at the end of OP1. The total grant amounts to US $ 42,281 with many co-fundings from SPIEC, JFGE, ICF, WWF Bhutan Programme.

Phobjikha valley consists of three Geogs (Blocks) , namely Gangtey, Phobjikha, and Bjena under Wangdiphodrang dzongkhag (district). The overall aim of the project was to promote the conservation of the Phobjikha habitat in general and the black Necked Cranes in particular through the twofold objectives:
1. Biodiversity Conservation and
2. Socio-Economic upliftment of the local communities.

The project is a demonstration project from which lessons could be learnt and maybe replicate to other areas of Bhutan with similar conditions.

The project is also in line with the Royal Government of Bhutan's policy of Biodiversity Conservation, rural economic development and decentralization programme.

At the Global level, the rare and endangered Black-Necked Cranes are conserved and protected and also, their wintering habitat in this part of Bhutan is protected increasing the migration of the birds in winter from October to March in Bhutan.

The objective of the project have been divided into four:
1. To develop a process of community participation in decision making that considers both the economic needs of the people and the conservation of the black-necked cranes.
2. To further develop the Phojikha Integrated Conservation and Development Program through consultation between the RSPN and Community representative.
3. To develop locally managed Eco-tourism in Phobjikha through the creation and implementation of an Eco-tourism management Plan.
4. To educate tourist, students and visitors about the significance of the black nectked cranes and to facilitate research, through the construction of a education and observation center.

The Project Activities:
The main activities included the following:
1. A community management document produced;
2. A two-day Eco-Tourism Workshop organized;
3. A yearly Crane Festival is organized each November;
4. Construction of viewing shelter in the lower valley;
5. Construction of photographers hide near the roosting area;
6. Construction of a Crane Observation Centre.

The above activities are completed and has the following impact.

Positive aspect of the Project:
The project with its balance approach to conservation and development has generated lot of enthusiasm on the part of the residents of Phobjikha. People have become more participatory in the project activities and hence beginning to see conservation as the basis for their future prosperity. Another important accomplishment is the establishment of the Phobjikha Conservation Area Program (PCAP) Committee which has given the community a sense of ownership for the various project activities. In the beginning the local people were skeptical about the project but they are now seeing it positively and are involved in decision making and implementation of the project activities.

The project has provided as one of the best examples in terms of linking SGP-funded activities with those funded by other agencies, namely the ICF, WWF, SPIEC, JFGE and PCAP Committee.

The annual crane festival contributed to the project's visibility at local and national level and, by attracting tourist from outside - at international level as well. The National Newspaper and the National Television covered atleast two crane festivals. The festivals were also socially beneficial as the local people found them a great opportunity for celebration, gaiety and business.

Weakness of the Project:
1. Lack of benefits to the local communities in order to enhance their active participation in the project;
2. Lack of fund to address the need for communication facilities. Phobjikha is devoid of facilities.
3. Lack of fund to establish additional facilities for Eco-Tourism, e.g. community lodge, campsite development and more local guide training.

The benefits achieved by Participants:
1. confidence has been build up to take up similar projects in the future;
2. the initiation of weaving program activity has provided an alternate source of livelihood for the women group:
3. Economic benefit emanating from the crane festival and educaition center. Increasing number of tourists annually, the local communities benefit economically by selling their handicrafts and other locally available edible recources.
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Project Snapshot

Royal Society for the Protection of Nature.
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 42,281.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 120,823.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 11,186.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Significant Participation of Indigenous Peoples
Local people of Phobjikha are involved from three geogs (blocks) namely Gangtey, Phobjikha and Bjena.
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
One of the most important objective of this project is to develop a process of community participation in decision making that considers both the economic needs of people and conservation of the Black-Necked Cranes. This will be achieved by developing locally managed Eco-Tourism in Phobjikha valley.
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SPIEC-Japan, JFGE, ICF and WWF Bhutan Programme.

SGP Country office contact

Mr. Tenzin Wangchuk
Mr. Tshering Phuntsho
009752322424 (ext:330)


UN House, Peling Lam (Street), Kawajangsa, Thimphu, P.O. Box No. 162
Thimphu, Bhutan, 11001