The World’s First Environmental Trust Fund (+ “Lost Land of the Tiger”)

As I was doing more reading about the recent announcement that Bhutan is home to 103 tigers, I came across the interesting fact that the world’s first environmental trust fund was established in Bhutan in 1992. The first!

The Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation began as a “collaborative venture” between the Royal Government of Bhutan, the United Nations Development Program, and the World Wildlife Fund. These institutions set up an endowment of $20 million “as an innovative mechanism to finance conservation programs over the long term in Bhutan.” The organization is apparently autonomous of the government, and makes grants ranging from $1,301 to $1.6 million. The fund financially supports the parks system in Bhutan, which I’ll write a post about soon.

On another, related note, if you want to learn more about tigers in Bhutan, I highly recommend the BBC Documentary, “Lost Land of the Tiger.” It follows a group of scientists who, in 2010, went in search of Bhutan’s tigers. They travelled from the temperate south to the Himalayan north to study tigers and see whether Bhutan could indeed, as they hoped, provide the missing link in a potential Himalayan tiger reserve that would link populations from Nepal to Myanmar, thereby preserving genetic diversity and an incredible range of ecosystems. It’s heartening that these scientists, including Dr. Alan Rabinowitz of Panthera, believe so strongly that Bhutan’s tiger population is healthy and that the country can teach us much about tiger conservation.

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