Phobjikha valley is situated in central Bhutan. It is part of an important wildlife preserve because the open marshland is home to the endangered black necked cranes. Other inhabitants included the red foxes, leopards, wild boars and the Himalayan black bears. The cranes fly south every winter to the valley before black to Tibet early spring.
The small local community in Phobjikha cooperate with the wildlife protection agencies in preserving the habitat thus limit their human activities to a confined area. Phobjikha valley is one of the most idyllic places in Bhutan. The community has a 16th century Gangtey monastery built on a ridge overlooking the valley. The tranquility of the valley is popular with tourists practicing meditation. The monastery has small guesthouses and meditation centers. The valley also offers multiple hiking trails. The community celebrates an annual crane festival to promote and raise awareness for the conservation of the ecosystem.
(It is a bowl-shaped glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains, bordering the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Because of the large flock of globally endangered black-necked cranes that winters here, it is one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country. The species, only discovered in 1876 due to its remote alpine range in China, Tibet, Bhutan, and India, is highly vulnerable. Across South Asia, there are as few as 5,000 of the birds in the wild. Over 300 of these stately four-foot-tall birds migrate from their breeding grounds in the upper Tibetan Plateau to this remote timber-lined bowl surrounded by massive Himalayan peaks, and roost there until spring amid the alpine wetlands. They never fail to circle the Gangtey Monastery a full three times upon their arrival as well as just prior to their departure. Bhutanese folklore interprets this rather mysterious tendency of the birds to them paying reverence to the three sacred jewels of Buddhism. Each winter the people of the valley eagerly await the return of black-necked Cranes as farmers believe that the birds’ presence heralds a bountiful harvest. For the locals of Phobjikha, the birds are nothing short of heavenly emissaries, signifying longevity, peace, and prosperity. )