Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Bhutan : New buses take nature on board

27 October, 2008 - Bhutan’s endangered species like tiger, golden langur, takin, red panda and black-necked crane will now accompany city bus passengers everywhere they go.

Sounds like a safari? Only, the animals are in pictures.

The concept of plastering stickers of these animals and nature elements onto the body of each of the 12 coaster city buses is to create public awareness on wildlife conservation.

The first of its kind to be done in the country, the idea, said World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) communication officer Tashi Tshering, is to reach the public in an unusual way.

“We’re portraying the richness of Bhutan’s natural abundance and hope that the public will understand that we have to create space, conserve and share what we have with others.”

Citing examples of neighbouring countries not intervening on time, Tashi Tshering said, “They’re trying to revive what is lost but we’re trying to do it now.”

The stickers, called decals, are specially treated plastic stickers, highly ultra violet protective, and water-proof, said the designers from Dato Creatives Tenzin Dorji and Rinchen Wangdi.

The medium they used for stickers is vinyl for the body and one-way vision for the glasses. “It took us about two months and, being the first time, it was quite challenging,” said Tenzin Dorji.

WWF country representative Kinzang Namgay said that it was a powerful travelling message. “Seeing is something and hearing is another thing. We hope that people get the message.”

The city bus general manager Chewang Gomdar said that the 19-seater coaster buses will begin service within the city from October 30, while the ten existing ones will ply the outskirts of the city.

The stickers are expected to last about two years if the public do not abuse them by peeling and scratching. WWF spent about Nu 500,000 on the stickers.

“The new concept is also a small gesture from WWF for the centenary and coronation celebrations,” said Tashi Tshering. Information and communications minister Lyonpo Nandalal Rai inaugurated the coaster buses.

By Sonam Pelden

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