Bhutan | Gangtey

Black-Necked Crane Education Center

Embrace Bhutan Cultural Tour

Gangtey | Bhutan

11 Nov 2019 | Mon

Day 05 of 13

  • Drive – Punakha to Gangtey
  • Tea at Hotel Kuenphen Norbuding Restaurant
  • Lawa La Pass
  • Picnic Lunch Near Gangtey Monastery
  • Gangtey Nature Trail – Black Neck Cranes
  • Black-Necked Crane Education Center
  • Wangchuk Dem Village Homestay Gangtey

Black-Necked Crane Education Center

We visit the Black-Necked Crane Education Center of the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN), which has informative displays about the black-necked cranes and the valley environment.

Embrace Bhutan Travel

Our final stop of the day is visiting the Black-Necked Crane Education Center (BNCEC) which is just across the street from our hike on the Gangtey Nature Trail. Black-Necked Crane Education Center operates under the Royal Society for Protection of Nature.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN) is Bhutan’s first and only non-governmental organization nonprofit organization with nationwide operations.

Since its establishment in 1987, the RSPN has promoted environmental education and advocacy, conservation and sustainable livelihoods, research and emerging issues like climate change, water and solid waste. The Society was registered under the Companies Act of Bhutan until last quarter of 2009 without proper authority which regulated the non-profit organization, with a special clause on non-profit entity. With the establishment of Civil Society Authority of Bhutan, the Society is now registered Civil Society Organization Authority as one of the Public Benefit Organizations under Bhutanese law.

– Wikipedia Royal Society for the Protection of Nature, Bhutan

Getting To See Karma – Injured Black-Necked Crane

When we arrived, it was very busy with a lot of visitors. One of the first areas of interest is a large outdoor aviary enclosure that has an injured black-necked crane named Karma.

Karma – Injured Black-Necked Crane,

In the winter of 2016, an injured Black-necked Crane, Karma, was left in the lower valley of Phobjikha. Karma was alone and helpless with complete fear of predation.

The locals informed RSPN about the injured and motionless bird. The RSPN field staff, upon hearing the information, immediately rushed to the scene. It was with much caution and care that the juvenile Karma was caught.

Without any delay, RSPN field staff sprung into action to rescue Karma and managed to bring him to the Black-necked Crane Visitor Centre (BNCVC) of RSPN. Karma was severely injured, with his left-wing unable to move, but the degree of injury could not be established.

Later on, a medical examination and radiographic imaging (X-ray) of Karma were done by the medical experts from National Centre for Animal Health, Ministry of Agriculture & Forests. It was revealed that multiple fractures were found in its left wing and callus formation had commenced. It also had an ankylosed joint with dislocation and deformity. The medical report concluded that Karma might never be able to fly and go to the wild.

After years of living in a temporary shelter built by RSPN, Karma is now happily enjoying his new home built in 2018 through donations received from passionate individuals and organizations.

– Royal Society for the Protection of Nature, Bhutan Injured Black-Necked Crane Karma

Aviary Enclosure For Karma (and now Pema)

Pema, The New Addition To Black-Necked Crane Education Center

When we visited BNCEC in November 2019, there was only one injured black-necked crane – Karma. However, recently (Februay 2021) a new injured black-necked crane named Pema was introduced to BNCEC.

On 7th Feb 2021, a Black-necked Crane was rescued from a pack of stray dogs at Langthel in Trongsa. The crane was then moved to Phobjikha at the Black-necked Crane Visitor Centre by Forest officials of the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Veterinarian Doctors from the National Veterinary Hospital inspected and found fresh bruises on both the joints of humerus and radius ulna (Elbow). The crane was initially placed in the enclosure alongside Crane karma with a partition, dividing the aviary with green net to avoid any harm among each other. After few first rough encounters, the two crane gradually bonded and got along with occasional unison calls. Through DNA analysis carried out by Japanese scientists, Professor Isao Nishiumi and Professor Satoshi Shimano, the new crane was found to be a female crane. Hearing the news of the crane, Her Majesty Royal Queen Mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, graced the crane with the name, Pema.

Royal Society for the Protection of Nature Bhutan > Brochures >
Crane Karma and Pema Flyer

In Need of Donations: As covered in the above brochure about Crane Karma and Pema, the Black-Necked Crane Education Center have plans to expand the current aviary. It stated that “with addition of crane Pema and possible addition of more injured cranes in the future, the available space in the enclosure will not be adequate”. They have developed a expansion plan and budget and now are looking for donations to help fulfill this need.

– Donations

View Black-Necked Crane With High-Powered Spotting Scopes

Inside the BNC Education Center, you will find a wealth of information. It’s recommended to first watch a short video documentary on cranes (very good) then check out their observation room filled with several high-powered spotting scopes. If you have time, you can also browse the center’s impressive library. They also keep updated stats on crane arrivals (in season).

Black-Necked Crane Education Center

Map – Black-Necked Crane Education Center

Leave a Comment