In Bhutan, there are several endangered animals that live in the country.
This country found deep in the Himalayas is filled with extraordinary wildlife, some of which are becoming rare as time passes.
Here you will find a list of the endangered species in Bhutan and the important things you should know about them.
Forests and vegetated tropical habitats are what Bhutan is known for.
There is not only an ample variety of plants, but there are more than 770 animal species that live in the country.
Animals may become endangered for several reasons, but human activity is one of the main causes.
Humans can destroy habitats needed for animals to survive, or even hunt some species to extinction.
Let’s take a look at the endangered animals in Bhutan, and what is known about these rare and amazing species.
10. Pygmy Hog
The pygmy hog (Porcula salvania) is classified as endangered and is considered one of the rarest pigs in the world.
This pig lives in Bhutan and is found high within the Himalayan Mountains.
Pygmy hogs live in dense grasslands, with mixed forest habitats.
These small pigs only weigh between 15 to 21 lbs when fully grown.
The skin of this pig is dark brown, and they are covered in hair. At shoulder height this pig only grows to be around 9 inches tall.
Pygmy hogs are among one the most threatened animals in the world.
They are affected by habitat loss and are losing the grassy habitats they rely on.
In order to maintain their populations, protection laws are being passed, and they are also being captive-bred.
It is estimated there are only around 250 hogs left in the wild, and they are extremely at risk of becoming extinct.
This pig relies on a diet of plants, eggs, insects, and reptiles like other pigs.
Mongooses and small cats are the predators of this hog.
9. Bengal Tiger
The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris) is a species that is native to tropical Asia.
Bhutan is just one region where this endangered species is found, as they also live in Bangladesh and Nepal.
It is estimated there are less than 2,000 Bengal tigers left in the wild, which primarily live in tropical forest habitats.
As one of the largest cats in the world, Bengal tigers have a length between 7 to 10 ft when fully grown.
They weigh between 300 to 500 lbs and are painted in the iconic orange and black patterns of tigers.
Bengal tigers are apex predators, and hunt animals they are capable of taking down.
They may spend their entire day traveling in order to look for food and may walk up to 37 miles.
Hunting done by humans is one of the main reasons tigers have gone extinct around the globe.
Humans also destroy the natural food source and habitat that the Bengal tigers rely on.
In Bhutan, it is estimated there are only around 103 tigers left in the wild.
This country is critical in linking tigers from Nepal and India.
8. Chinese pangolin
The Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) is native to Bhutan and is also seen in northern India and China.
Chinese pangolins are listed as “critically endangered” by the IUCN, and it is estimated there are only around 10,000 pangolins left.
Bamboo forests, grasslands, agricultural fields, and tropical forest habitats are where this species lives.
Preferring warmer climates, Bhutan is one of the few places where the Chinese pangolin inhabits.
The body of this animal is ancient looking, and this prehistoric mammal’s existence dates back to 80 million years ago.
They have a gray, or dark brown coloring, with armored plates covering them.
Adults weigh between 4.4 to 15.4 lbs. Large claws help Chinese pangolins in ripping into termites’ nests so they can feast.
Poaching and habitat loss are one of the main causes of the Chinese pangolin’s massive population decline.
Their meat and scales are sold for profit, which has caused this ancient species to near extinction.
Today conservation efforts are being done to save the forests, and termite nests these animals rely on.
Chinese pangolins have the nickname “protector of the forests” since they feast on wood-eating termites, but now this mammal must be protected to preserve future populations.
7. Gee’s Golden Langur
Gee’s golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) is an endangered species, and today there are only around 6,500 of them left in the world.
This animal is considered one of the most endangered in India and Bhutan.
Forests are where the Gee’s golden langur lives, and they spend their time high in the trees.
The fur of adults has a cream or golden color, and their fur changes based on the season.
In the summer is white and turns golden, or chestnut in the winter.
Tufts of hair appear on these small primates’ chests and the sides of their head.
The main cause for the Gees’ golden langurs’ population decline is habitat destruction.
The destruction of trees due to chopping them down for timber, and the creation of farmland is why the Gee’s golden langurs’ homes are being destroyed.
In Bhutan, there are few of these amazing animals left, and extinction may soon be on the horizon.
The region’s steps in creating communities, and making protection plans to protect the golden langurs is why they have slowly been rebuilding their populations.
The shy nature and tendency to avoid humans is why they are difficult to study.
6. Himalayan Musk deer
The Himalayan musk deer (Moschus leucogaster) is an endangered species, found in Bhutan, India, Pakistan, and China.
These deer live in the Himalayas in high altitudes above 8,200 ft.
The musk deer is very shy and only emerges at night in open areas. Vegetation found in the mountains with high protein, and low fiber is what feeds on.
The fangs of these deer have to make them look like vampires, but these large teeth are only used to compete with other bucks.
Himalayan musk deer have brown fur, with a sandy color.
Adults stand around 20 to 24 inches at shoulder height. On average they weigh around 24 lbs.
Humans hunting, and destroying the habitat of the Himalayan musk deer is why they are endangered.
The total number of this species left in the wild is unknown, but it is estimated there may be around 230,000.
Because of the secretive nature of the Himalayan musk deer, knowing the exact usage of the habitat of this animal is difficult.
5. Wild Water Buffalo
Found in India, Bhutan, and Nepal, wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee) is an endangered species of bovine.
They have been listed as endangered by the IUCN since 1986.
They mainly live near rivers, swamps, and lakes. Today there are around 4,000 left in the wild.
One trait that makes this bovine stand out from the rest is its horns, which can grow up to 5 feet long.
They stand 5 to 6.2 feet tall and weigh up to 2,000 lbs.
Wild water buffalo have an ash-gray coloring and are one of the heaviest in the bovine family.
Parasites, hunting, and the loss of habitat are the main causes of this animal population decline.
Subtropical and wet grasslands are where they live.
Spending time in watering holes, and mud is what they enjoy.
4. Red panda
In China and Bhutan, red pandas (Bubalus arnee) are beloved animals.
Even though they share parts of their common names, these animals are not related to the giant panda bear.
Red pandas are closer related to animals like raccoons and skunks. Sadly red pandas are endangered, and their population is on the decline.
The status of red pandas in Bhutan is not known, but it is estimated there are less than 2,500 left.
Red pandas live in high altitudes, in bamboo and temperate forests.
Like the black and white pandas, this species eats bamboo but also has insects, grass, fruits, and birds in its diet.
Red pandas are going extinct because of habitat loss, and poaching.
Over the past 20 years, red pandas have seen a population decline of around 40 percent.
These creatures are sometimes spotted in zoos, and it is getting rarer to see them in the wild.
Today red pandas are legally protected from being hunted or captured. Improving awareness of this animal’s decline, and protecting where they live is how red pandas can be preserved.
The lifespan of red pandas is around 14 years, which may be cut short due to diseases, or predation.
3. White-bellied heron
White-bellied herons (Ardea insignis) are a critically endangered species that live in wetlands near forests, and foothills.
They are found in the eastern Himalayas but also occur in the low riparian habitats in Bhutan.
White-bellied herons have all gray colors, with white feathers on their belly.
They have a long bill that can reach over 6 inches.
Their wingspan spreads to around 40 inches, and a height of 50 inches, making them the second largest heron in the world.
Throughout the year white-bellied herons feed on fish like carp, and trout.
Predation by animals when young is one of the main causes of this bird population decline.
Other birds and rodents are the main causes of this bird’s young death.
The degradation of the wetland habitats they live in, and pollution is also one of the causes why this species has become critically endangered.
Funding projects to clean, and defend their nesting sites are ways this bird is being saved.
2. White-rumped vulture
White-rumped vultures (Gyps bengalensis) are listed as critically endangered species by the IUCN.
They can be found in southern Bhutan, and have a range that covers South, and Southeast Asia.
Near villages, towns, and open country is where the white-rumped vultures live.
They also may live in lowlands, and go up to areas with elevations up to 5000 ft.
The feathers that cover this bird are nearly all black, and they have white coloring on their back.
White-rumped vultures have a wingspan between 6.3 to 8.5 feet large.
They stand around 30 to 37 inches tall and can weigh up to 16 lbs.
Carrion is one of the main food sources of the white-rumped vultures, and they spend their time flying around looking for a meal.
They have excellent eyesight and use it to find any large dead animal.
White-rumped vultures are endangered due to unintentional poisoning of diclofenac, which even a small dose can kill them.
Diclofenac is used in animals like cattle or swine to treat inflammation.
These birds have experienced a decline of around 25 to 68 percent of their population overall.
1. Asian Elephant
In Bhutan, the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is one of the many endangered animals living in the region.
These animals typically live in the southern forests of Bhutan.
Habitat loss and poaching are the main threats faced by Asian elephants in Bhutan.
Standing at a height of 6 to 12 feet tall, Asian elephants can have massive weight between 6,000 to 12,000 lbs.
Asian elephants are not only one of the largest land animals, but are essential in maintaining forests, and grassland habitats.
Their size makes it possible for them to create paths for other animals to use when traveling.
There are around 678 Asian elephants left in Bhutan, and their survival relies on protection from humans.
In the wild total, there are around 40,000 to 50,000 Asian elephants remaining.
The large, valuable ivory tusks grown by these animals are why so many elephants die yearly.