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Field Notes from Bhutan: Background

This seven-day intensive course, held from November 30 to December 6, 2011 in Bhutan, focuses on hands-on technical training for a combination of livestock veterinarians and forest officers in Bhutan.

This program, developed in collaboration with the Human Wildlife Conflict Management Section of the Department of Forests and Park Services in Bhutan, has been designed to address a critical lack of wildlife veterinary ability in Bhutan, and to increase the country’s capacity to address wildlife health and rescue situations which currently occur across a large and rugged geographic area, and decrease overall human-animal conflict.
Read updates from the course.

Traditional Bhutanese roof detail. Photo courtesy of Joe Kolowski.


Participants in this course will be a combination of forest rangers/officers and livestock veterinarians. There are a total of 20 geographic divisions or districts in Bhutan and approximately 8 veterinary centers. The goal is to increase the capacity within each district, or at least region, of Bhutan to respond to wildlife health scenarios by training existing veterinarians and biologists from a range of different districts with these individuals serving as the main source of knowledge for their region. The course will include 25 participants in total.


This course will provide the following, with a focus on their application to bears, felids and cervids:

  • An introduction to basic animal handling and restraint.
  • An introduction to basic animal chemical immobilization techniques, drug calculations, and safety.
  • An introduction to zoonotic disease safety, animal handling safety, and drug safety.
  • An introduction to basic animal rescue response.
  • Development of a collaborative network of veterinarians and biologists available for wildlife health and disease issues.
  • Surveys/evaluations designed to evaluate knowledge gained by participants in the training course and identify needs for future training.


The majority of the course will be spent at the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) in Bhumtang, Bhutan. A portion of the course will be spent in Thimphu, utilizing the facilities and animals at the Animal/Livestock Research Center and the Bhutan Takin Preserve.