The Theme Of Bhutan’s Jhomolhari Festival 2018 - Living In Harmony With The Ghost of High Mountains

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The theme of this year’s festival 'Living in Harmony with the Ghost of High Mountains' is centred on the conservation of the elusive yet elegant snow leopard.

(Source: Tourism Council of Bhutan.)

 

By Changa Dorji | BBS

The Jhomolhari Mountain Festival is a two-day (14-15 Oct) event celebrated at the base of Mt. Jhomolhari by communities who reside along one of the most scenic trekking routes in Bhutan. Over a hundred people, including both locals and tourists, trekked up to Dangochang in Soe Gewog, Thimphu for this year’s festival.

The first Jhomolhari Mountain Festival was held in 2013 and it highlighted the culture of the communities living amidst the natural wonders that surround them.

 

Jhomolhari Mountain regions

Source: Basudara Travels

 

The theme of this year’s festival 'Living in Harmony with the Ghost of High Mountains' is centred on the conservation of the elusive yet elegant snow leopard.

This endangered cat thrives in the Jhomolhari Mountain regions as it is one of the best snow leopard habitats in Bhutan.

The festival aims to raise awareness on the conservation of snow leopards

This year’s Jhomolhari Mountain Festival was conceived as a Snow Leopard festival with an aim to raise awareness on the importance of conserving the endangered cat species.

Six years down the road after the launch of the festival in 2013, this goal is still relevant as Bhutan intensifies its efforts to conserve the elusive cat and its habitat in the country.

The Lingzhi Dungkhag organised the 6th Jhomolhari Mountain Festival and it was financially supported by the TCB, Bhutan Foundation and Novel Travellers.

“Initially, the festival was conceived as a Snow Leopard Festival to conserve and preserve Snow Leopards in the high mountains of Lingzhi frontiers so that the local people can coexist with the animal. The theme and objective remains the same today,” Lingzhi Dungpa Mani Sangye said.

 

Source: WWF Bhutan

 

Snow leopards in Bhutan are conserved in the mountains of Soe, Naro, Lingzhi in Thimphu and the Yaktsa and Nubri villages of Tsentok Gewog in Paro.

Traits of the snow leopard and why they are hunted

Solitary, almost silent and majestically beautiful, the snow leopard is one the most enigmatic members of the cat family. It is also one of the rarest and most threatened.

The predator is often hunted for its fur, bones and organs. Human-wildlife conflict is another threat to its existence.

“The festival aims to raise awareness on the importance of coexistence. When farmers kill wild predators in retaliation to livestock deaths and crop destruction, it threatens their existence,” the Dungpa added.

An ambitious countrywide estimate of the population of snow leopards carried out in 2017 found that there are 96 snow leopards in Bhutan. And Lingzhi is home to more than 24 of them, according to the 2016 Snow Leopard Survey.

“The snow leopard is an important animal in our eco-system. They are an indicator species of the health of mountain eco-system. Its presence across the country is a sign that much of Bhutan’s high-mountain eco-system is healthy. This is why we should raise awareness on the importance of its conservation through the festival,” Thimphu’s Dzongda, Dorji Tshering said.

The Jhomolhari Mountain Festival also brought together the people of Lingzhi, Soe and Tsentok Gewog of Paro. The event was a visual treat with various cultural performances native to these gewogs on display.

 

This article first appeared in BBS and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.

 


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