World Water Day celebrated with announcement of Wild River BioBlitz

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Thursday 22 March 2018 is World Water Day with the theme “Nature for Water” and to celebrate, the National Biodiversity Centre is pleased to announce the Wild River BioBlitz.

“We are encouraging everybody to take photographs of wildlife they see in and around our rivers and to upload these images to the Bhutan Biodiversity Portal. You might be surprised at what you find if you look – fish, birds, dragonflies, many species of plants and more,“ said Ms. Sangay Dema, Principal Biodiversity Officer at NBC.

“We have a network of experts on hand to help identify observations made as part of the Wild River BioBlitz. A new spider was discovered by citizen science as part of a recent BioBlitz in Australia. We are excited by what members of the public might find.”

“By entering the Wild Rivers BioBlitz you can win great prizes, learn about Bhutan’s biodiversity and contribute to science!” said Ms. Danielle Northey, Australian Volunteer at NBC.

NBC has teamed up with WWF Bhutan to offer great prizes for the champion observer, the best species find and the best photograph.

All photographs submitted as part of the Wild River BioBlitz will contribute to the Bhutan Biodiversity Portal which is a central official repository of information about Bhutan’s biodiversity.

Dr.Tashi Yangzome Dorji, Program Director, NBC said “Every contribution counts! Your contribution will stay in the national repository for eternity and contribute towards long term conservation policy decisions and actions”.

The portal has the ability to accept species observations from citizen science, for example, photographs submitted as part of the Wild River BioBlitz, but also observations and species information collected as part of scientific research.

To ensure the long-term integrity of Bhutan’s river ecosystems and the sustainability of their services in the context of the country’s economic development, funding was recently provided by the World Bank and WWF Bhutan to develop additional features and fields to accommodate aquatic biodiversity data in the Bhutan Biodiversity Portal.

World Water Day is an annual international event which focuses attention on the importance of universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. The day also advocates the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Ms. Sonam Choden, WWF Bhutan’s Freshwater Practice Lead said “Bhutan’s rivers, which flows into the Brahmaputra basin in neighbouring India, are part of a network of rivers emanating from Asia’s “water towers” that provide water for one-fifth of the world’s population.”

“It is vital that we care for the health of our river systems and that we conduct scientific research and collate biodiversity data to ensure that our aquatic resources are managed sustainably, using science based information. One way everybody can help is to contribute information to the Bhutan Biodiversity Portal” she said.

The Wild River BioBlitz will run throughout April 2018. To participate, register with the Bhutan Biodiversity Portal at www.biodiversity.bt. Further information about the Wild River BioBlitz is available at www.nbc.gov.bt/?p=2383.