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Butterfly conservation crucial for entire ecosystem

Jun 12, 2017

Delhi Government inaugurates Butterfly Park to celebrate World Environment Day.

New Delhi:

Over 130 years old, NGO Bombay Nature History Society (BNHS) Delhi branch, Conservation Education Centre (CEC), celebrated World Environment Day 2017 in Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary. The centre has been working here since 2004 with department of forests and wildlife, and in past 15 years it has worked to sensitize and educate people in various forms.

The butterfly park, built and maintained in the sanctuary, is another feather in the cap of CEC. The idea of the park came after a visit e Chandigarh Butterfly Park in 2014. It has been developed subsequently to take its rightful place as unique attraction of ABWLS. The park is one of its kind, being the largest in Delhi NCR and spread over an area of 2.5 acres. It has  been made with minimum intervention and disturbance to the existing flora and fauna.

The park has 60 varieties of native trees and over 25 species of host plants. More than 30 varieties of nectar plants are also placed in the park which will attract many rare species of butterflies. Till now 64 species of butterfly have been recorded in the park.

Talking about the butterflies conservation, Sohail Madan, the centre head and project manager said, “We believe in conservation but our method is somewhat realistic. We are working to conserve the primary consumer first which will automatically lead to conserve the entire food chain.”

“Butterflies and other insects are positioned at the lower strand of the food chain. They directly feed on grasses, plants and flowers. Spiders and other species feed on these insects. Spiders are the food of birds and the chain ends with birds of prey,” he added. “If we can protect these butterflies, we can actually protect the other higher species. We believe in building a chain of conservation and if we can protect one species, we could start the automatic process of natural protection,” explained Madan.

The most common species of butterflies in Asola are, Tiny Grass Blue, Blue Tiger, Plain Tiger, Striped Tiger, Emigrant, Pioneer, White Orange Tip etc. Rare butterflies are Indian Skipper, Red Flash, Indian Palm Bob, Three Ring etc.

The host plants and native trees that are planted in the park are, Citrus plants, curry plant (sweet neem), Amaltash, Bel Patthar, Peelu, Palm, Palash and Wild Oak. Other seasonal and perennial nectar plants like Kufiya, Verbena, Red Ixora, Flash Flower etc.

With the increased diversity of the ecological niche, we have successfully started a microhabitat for ensuring the long-term survival of these beautiful vanishing gems of Delhi. By building this park and many more such our aim should be to prioritize butterfly conservation in protected as well as non-protected areas.

 

 

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