Towards the evening of 24th November 2017, I with two of my colleague ranger was walking along the beach of Sunkosh capturing the pictures of water birds. New visitors were scarcely seen other than the normal ones. In fact, we were involved in removing the traps set for the fish by the people. Sunkosh, as one of the major river system in Bhutan is not only enriched with diverse fish species but also with larger sizes of the kind. The people by the advantage of its presence take chances illegally to cherish its beauty. Knowing the shortcoming of less staffs, the species is a victim of many and the most to outsiders across the borders. Many a times, SMART patrolling is conducted to curve out the issues. The success indicators were also challenged with difficulties and failure whereby we could only watch outsiders voyaging on tube with fish. Is it fair for us, especially to Bhutanese when we see outsiders cherishing our resources? Is it logical to scrutinize our poor local people with fines and penalties when we could not do anything to outsider? For me it isn’t, but that doesn’t mean I remain idle, I am proactive enough to let people know the value on conservation.

After Removal of Traps set for Fish

Nichula Range, one of the newly establish range located in border has only four staffs. We are so lucky with the wise management of good manager; the works are completed effectively and efficiently but with lots of challenge. As a paramilitary with weapons, the services to the general public are never a picnic here. People in central and many in headquarter are facing difficulties to offer responsibilities but here is just the opposite. Many organization development exercises were conducted and resulted to shortage of staffs but illogically recruitment of rangers were stopped starting this year. Nevertheless, we are happy to face the challenge as we could explore beyond the boundary.

Getting to the point, I was removing the traps set for the fish when I heard the roaring sound of the Black Panther. I call it the call of fate to save the animal. It’s a very sloppy place, no paths and ways to walk out. We could have followed other way but followed that path without many reason. The only aim was to remove the traps for fish if it is present on that rocky cliff. It was that growling sound of Panther which let us to move step ahead in saving the wildlife. “Worr…Worr..Worr” what is it? One of my friends shouted. I said it is tiger. Haha…How could it be tiger when I see its black in colour. I corrected it is a cat species. It was trying to jump but could not as it has been caught in a cable snare. Within a minute multiple photos were taken and confirmed that it is a Black Panther. The animal has been badly injured and noticed that going near it could only panic it

Black Panther on Trap

 Don’t go near it? Don’t disturb it? Tendel Wangdi our trained ranger in wildlife rescue said. He has knowledge of handling it but there isn’t equipment which let him to call a team from rescue center. Gelephu could be near but following the border area is very difficult. In an hour, the news reached to Thimphu wildlife rescue center. We were instructed not to do anything until they reach to the destination. The rescue team started their five hour journey from Thimphu and we went home to get equipment like torch and weapon to drive the elephant at Gangtokha.

 Black Panther caught incable snare

The farmer said, he has set the cable snare to project his crops from the monkey. But, unluckily the panther was caught in the snare. The animal might have followed that route to get water from the Sunkosh River. With wintering, streams started to dry up and only the river become its easy source of drinking. Towards my observation, the animal has been in snare for three to four days as I could make out that it has been badly injured and gone so weak.

Rescue Team and Field Rangers

The team arrives at 11:50 pm, though could have been earlier but mistakenly reached to Karmaling. The Range apologized for the inconvenience as we were busy involved in chasing elephant from farm at Gangtokha. We only thought, they know the road as they have visited long time ago. The team rushed to the place and begun the work. The animal is tranquilized and taken to get it heal after noting its details. The next day on 25th November, the 25 kg Black Panther is safely released to the jungle by the team together with staffs of Nichula Range.