Dasho Paljor Dorji (Dasho Benji) has been named one of Nature’s Heroes by Bhutan’s Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN). He was chosen for this award because of his exemplary work in conservation, Birdlife reported.
He is often referred to as the Godfather of conservation in Bhutan, he founded RSPN at the command of the Fourth King of Bhutan in 1987, primarily to protect Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis, and the country’s biodiversity in general.
Before the establishment of the Bhutan’s Royal Society for Protection of Nature, most of the conservation work was done in the country by the government.
A substantial portion of Black-necked cranes spend winter at three sites in Bhutan. In 1987, Dasho Benji began working for the conservation of the most important of these sites, the Phopjika Valley, part of the Phopjika and Khatekha valleys IBA. After thirty years, although it is still listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, the crane’s population has apparently increased or stabilized in recent years.
Dasho Benji helped draft Bhutan’s first National Environmental Strategy. He also advocates for environment and conservation through talks during events, and through his weekly radio show, Good Evening Dasho Benji