Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is geopolitically located (27°09’00” 27°28’08” North and 91°47’04” & 92°07’02” East) in the easternmost part of the country under Trashigang District and was established in 2003. Sanctuary shares border with the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh in the East and North and is well connected by Jomotshangkha Wildlife Sanctuary in the South promoting healthy faunal population via proper habitat connectivity.
SWS spreads over a part of Merak, Sakteng ( Trashigang) and Lauri Gewog (Samdrupjongkhar) forming 740.60 skm.km with 146.08 sq. km area (19.37%) designated as a core zone. However, the Sanctuary officially manages 937.62 sq. km catering services to entire area of Merak and Sakten Gewog.
Amongst the three Range Office, Merak Range is the largest Range with an area of 482.56 sq. km followed by Sakteng Range (333.61 sq. Km) and Joenkhar Range (121.21 sq. km).
Sanctuary outlets three major rivers viz. Gamri chuu benefiting valley of Sakteng, Joenkhar, Phongmey, Radhi, Bidung, Samkhar, and Trashigang; Nyera ama chuu benefiting Merak, Kangpara, Gomdar, Thrimshing; and Jomo chuu benefiting Khasitang, Lauri, Serthi, and Daifam. There is no permanent glacier and rivers are mainly fed by 104 lakes in alpine area with seasonal rain and snowfall. Area receives highest rainfall in June-August with sporadic snowfall from October-April.
It harbors eight different forest types ascending from warm broadleaved (1500 m) to alpine meadow (4500 m) and majority of the area falls in temperate zone. There are 857 plants including 130 species of orchids and 41 species of Rhododendrons, 280 birds, 37 species of mammals, 63 butterflies, 5 reptiles, 3 amphibians, and 2 species of fishes (BS 2015). It harbors highest diversity of Rhododendron species in the country with three endemic, R. kesangiae, R. bhutanese, and R. pogonophyllum propounding it as “Paradise of Rhododendrons”. Further, the Khaling Torrent Catfish (Parachiloglanis bhutanese) endemic to Bhutan is also found in the Sanctuary.
Despite rich biodiversity, currently it is under tremendous pressure from anthropogenic activities resulted from approximately 5000 semi-nomad inhabitants (Brokpa) of Merak and Sakteng residing across the jurisdiction. Almost 83 % of the inhabitants are dependent on livestock for their daily income and sustenance.
Conserve the assemblage of Eastern Himalayan Ecosystem and Unique Cultural Heritage to maintain Ecological Integrity and Social Wellbeing.
Maintain the representative biodiversity of Eastern Himalayan Ecosystem through scientific management and promotion of culture while enhancing the local livelihood through nature based enterprises and community ecotourism initiatives.
Ensure ecological integrity and enhance local economy with minimum impact on age old culture and tradition of local people.