Lhendup Tharchen

PhD Student

Lhendup Tharchen is a PhD student at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, focusing his research on “Assessing interspecific interactions between snow leopard, tiger, and common leopard and investigating their potential conflict with livestock rearing communities in a changing landscape in Bhutan”.

Mr. Lhendup is a forester and a conservation biologist by training, an environmentalist by practice, and a conservation leader by passion. Lhendup has the distinctive experience of managing both the national park as well as the forest management units outside protected areas.

He worked for the Royal Government of Bhutan for 14 years in various capacities. He has worked on tigers in the lowlands of Royal Manas National Park to snow leopards in the highlands of Jigme Dorji National Park in Bhutan. Lhendup is the first person to track both the snow leopard and common leopard in Bhutan using satellite telemetry.

Lhendup is a firm believer in balancing conservation, community livelihood, and development. He has an extensive experience in protected area management, species conservation, human-wildlife conflict management, natural resource management, ecotourism, and community development. He is the co-founder of the “Jomolhari Mountain Festival established to celebrate life in the mountains” to address the coexistence of snow leopards and highland communities. He also established community-based ecotourism in the region to support snow leopard and mountain ecosystem conservation. Mr. Lhendup envisions harmonizing wildlife conservation with human livelihood and well-being and promoting conservation leadership in Bhutan and beyond.

Prior to joining The Australian National University, he worked at the UNDP Bhutan, as the Program Coordinator for Forest and Biodiversity. He managed the GEF supported ecotourism project “mainstreaming biodiversity conservation into the tourism sector in Bhutan” in partnership with the Tourism Council of Bhutan. He also managed the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), Early Action Support Project for the development of Bhutan’s National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan (NBSAP) in partnership with the National Biodiversity Center. In addition, he served as the National Coordinator for the Biodiversity Finance (BIOFIN), Bhutan, to working towards ensuring sustainable financing mechanism for the Bhutan’s biodiversity conservation.

Mr. Lhendup obtained his MPhil in Conservation Leadership from the University of Cambridge and a Post-Graduate Diploma (Distinction) in International Wildlife Conservation Practice from the University of Oxford. He is also an alumni of the 2005 Indian Forest Service (IFS) with MSc. Forestry management from the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun, India. He graduated with a BSc in Life Science from the University of Delhi.

Research interests

His research interests includes conservation of big cats focusing on tigers, Leopards, and snow leopards, behavioral ecology of felids, human wildlife conflict, conservation and livelihood, Impact of climate change on biodiversity conservation, natural resource management, social capital in conservation, protected area governance and conservation finance.

After tracking and monitoring the tigers, leopards and snow leopards using remote cameras for several years, and learning their predation on the farmers livestock, Mr. Tharchen developed an interest in understanding their movement ecology, conflict pattern and their interactions.

Mr Tharchen is interested in bridging wildlife conservation with human livelihood and well-being and promoting conservation leadership in Bhutan and beyond.