WANGCHUCK CENTENNIAL NATIONAL PARK (WCNP), covering and area of approximately 4, 920 square kilometres is the largest National park in Bhutan. It is part of the temperate and alpine ecosystems of northern Bhutan with some of the highest mountain peaks that remain under permanent snow cover: Gangkar Puensum, Rinchen Zoegila and Jazayla and 85% of the park under snow for approximately four months during the winter season. Four major rivers of Bhutan: Punatsang Chhu (Sunkosh), Mangde Chhu, Chamkhar Chhu and Kuri Chhu (tributaries of Manas) all begin in this vast park.
WCNP comprises of three ecological zones with six different habitattypes: cool broad leave forest, mixed conifer forest, fir forest, juniper forest, alpine meadows and scrubs, and alpine scree with elevation ranging from 2,700m to beyond 5,000m. WCNP lies next to Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary in the east, Jigme Dorji National Park in the west and is bordered by a continuous biological corridor in the south.
WCNP has over 690 species of vascular plants with 3 very rare trees: Yartsa Goenbup, Himalayan Yew (Taxus baccata wallichaina) and thenational tree of Bhutan Cupressus corneyana, whose leaves are used in the making of incense. The overall wide range of species includes many which are endangered or extinct elsewhere in the world. Of a total in excess of 40 mammals, 8 are totally protected species: Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris), Common Leopard (Panthera pardus), Snow Leopard (Unica unica), Himalayan Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus laniger), Leopard cat (Felisbengalensis), Himalayan Musk bear (Moschus chrysogaster), Himalayan Serow (Capricornis sumatraensis thar), Bhutan Takin (Budorcas taxicolar). Camera traps have capturedthe first-ever photographic evidence of Pallas’s cat in WCNP, (confirmed by WWF and Government of Bhutan scientists) with confirmed sightings of the near threatened Tibetan Wolf (Canis lupus chanco). To-date 250 species of birds have been recorded within the park, with 130 confirmed breeding there including Brandt’s Mountain Finch (Leucosticte brandti) and the White-browed Tit Warbler (Leptopoecile sophiae). This amazing park offers the traveller a true taste of nature, perfect for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts alike.