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One of the highest mountain reliefs on Earth can be found in the tiny country of Bhutan. Sandwiched between eastern India and the Tibetan plateau, Bhutan hosts peaks that range between 5,000 and 7,000 m (16,000-23,000 ft) in height. These mountains are neighbors to Mount Everest, Earth's highest peak at 8,850 m (29,035 ft). The impressive Bhutan Himalayas are permanently capped with snow, which extends down valleys in long glacier tongues. Because of disparate weather patterns on either side of the Himalayas and differences in topography, the glaciers on each side of the mountain are distinctly different from one another and are likely to react very differently to climate change. Image courtesy of NASA.
This northwest-looking 3-D view was created by draping the previous natural color image over digital topography data obtained from an ASTER satellite. Image courtesy of NASA.
Despite sharing a common name and a love of bamboo, red pandas (aka lesser pandas) and giant pandas are not closely related. The name “panda” is believed to come from the Nepali word “ponya,”meaning “bamboo eater.”  Red pandas live in the rainy mountain forests of Nepal, India, Bhutan, northern Burma, and central China where they spend most of their lives in trees sleeping, eating, and sunbathing. The diet of a red panda is 95% bamboo, but while the giant panda feeds on nearly every above-ground portion of bamboo, the red panda feeds on the most nutritious leaf tips and, when available, tender shoots. They live solitary lives except during breeding season. Red Pandas are considered endangered as they are threatened by habitat loss, fur trapping, or capture for the illegal pet trade. (Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian National Zoo.)
The Great Buddha Dordenma is located in Thimphu, Bhutan's capital and largest city.  The statue celebrates the 60th birthday of Bhutan's fourth king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck.  Construction on the 52 m (170 ft) tall steel statue began in 2006 and it was completed in 2015. The Buddha Dordenma is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world.
The takin is the National Animal of Bhutan and holds an important place in the country’s culture, religion, and national identity as well as appearing on the country’s currency.  A large, muscular, and stocky animal weighing up to 272 kg (600 lbs), its thick brownish-yellow coat and strong legs allow the takin to survive in high altitudes and rocky terrain found in the subalpine forests of the Bhutanese mountains and eastern Himalayas, India, and China.  Takins are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and are protected under Bhutanese law. The pictured takin lives at Royal Takin Preserve Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu.
- The Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Taktshang Goemba), Bhutan’s most famous monastery, is built on the side of a cliff 2,950 m (9,678 ft) above the Paro Valley. The Buddhist monastery is built into the rock face and can be accessed from several directions. Guru Rinpoche is credited with bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. According to a legend, the Guru Rinpoche (the second Buddha) founded the monastery after flying from Tibet to Bhutan on the back of a tigress to subdue a demon, Singye Samdrup, who was troubling the valley’s resident. He meditated at the site for three months and anointed it as a monastery. The first monastery was built in 1692, but due to fires and age, the structure was rebuilt numerous times. The most recent reconstruction was completed in 2005, following a fire in 1998.
The National Memorial Chorten in Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital city, was built in 1974 in memory of Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, the popular third king of Bhutan, and is dedicated to world peace. A chorten or stupa is a mound-like structure containing relics of Buddhist monks or nuns and is used as a place of meditation. However, the National Memorial Chorten does not enshrine human remains, only a photo of the third king in ceremonial dress because he wanted to build "a chorten to represent the mind of the Buddha." The Thimpu Chorten, located in the heart of the city with its golden spires and bells, is known as the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan.
The twin lakes of Tshophu in Bhutan are two of the many lakes in Bhutan formed by melting glaciers. These lakes are not only beautiful, but provide indicators of the impact of climate change on Himalayan glaciers and are monitored due to risk of flooding.  The lakes, located in Jigme Dorji National Park, at an altitude of 4,430 m ( 14,534 ft) are part of the  Jomolhari Loop Trek that many visitors to Bhutan walk.  The sharp peak on the right is Jichu Drakye 6,989 m (22,893 ft), high; the middle peak is Jomolhari 2 standing at 6,942 m ( 22,775 ft) and the tip of Jomolhari at 7,134 m (23,996 ft) is just visible to the left. The Park was created to the habitats of the snow leopard, clouded leopard, and the Bengal tiger as well as many species of endangered vegetation.  Currently under consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Jigme Dorji National Park also holds the distinction of as a place where the national animal (takin), the national flower (blue poppy), national bird (raven), and national tree (cypress) are found in one place.