Human-induced changes have threatened the habitats takin in Bhutan.

Human-induced changes have threatened the habitats takin in Bhutan.

The first national report on takin released by the forest department has revealed this.

Linear infrastructure such as expansion of road and transmission lines and improper land-use planning were found to affect wildlife movement and disturb prime habitats of the species, Japan News reported.

The infrastructure developments, if unchecked, could cause unforeseeable risks due to penetration into the takin habitats.

The Bhutan takin is one of four subspecies of takin and is endemic to Bhutan.

It is a large bovid ungulate found along the warm broad-leaved forest through the alpine region between the altitudinal range of 1,200 meters in warm broad-leaved forest to 5,374 meters in northern Bhutan.

The animals mostly inhabit Jigme Dorji National Park and Wangchuck Centennial National Park although they are found also in Paro, Thimphu, and Wangdue forest divisions.

The report stated that winter habitats of takin were highly vulnerable to anthropogenic pressure due to its closer proximity to human settlements.

“Building roads closer to or within the takin habitats will not only alter the animal behaviour but will also fragment the habitats,” the report added.

To deter negative impact within the habitats, the study recommended the government focus on maintaining the existing farm roads rather than building new roads.

“If new construction is required, it should be cost-effective and environmentally less damaging.”

Takin prefer continuous gentle terrain and an undisturbed habitat for foraging, finding mates and long-term sustenance.

For that, low-altitude forested habitat outside protected areas should be incorporated into takin management plans and should be protected as takin habitats, according to the report.

The Bhutan takin was declared the national animal of Bhutan in 1985 and is strictly protected under the Schedule I of the Forests and Nature Conservation Act of Bhutan 1995.

The takin is categorised as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.

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