Thursday, October 15, 2009

Butterflies soaring higher due to climate change in Himalayas region

KATHMANDU, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Climate change comes home to roost. A research, based on Apollo butterfly and Pika hare, the harbingers of global warming, conducted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Nepal's Langtang region of the Himalayas indicate a disturbing trend.

According to Thursday's THT Online report, both the insect and mammal have migrated up to 500 meters in the upper reaches in the last 15 years or so due to the adverse impact of climate change.

"Usually Apollo butterflies are found at 3,000 meters above sea level. Over the years, it has moved 500 meters above. While, Pika has relocated 100 meters higher," Bhaiya Khanal of Natural History Museum told the website.

Khanal, an expert on butterflies, was a part of the WWF team that conducted the research.

"We can find more evidence of climate changes in the Himalayan region if we conduct an extensive survey. It has been observed that some species of butterfly like Pancy and Crow, which are usually found in the Terai (plain), are now being sighted in the Valley these days," he explained.

There has been a discernible shift in the life cycle of butterflies as well.

Earlier, it would be visible from April to October-November. Now, species like Pieris, Urema and Papillion are found in the wild in March. While, other varieties are making its presence felt in Koshi and Bardiya conservation areas in December. Pieris, which usually lives in 1,800 meters, has moved up to 2,200 meters. Of the 14 families, belonging to 650 species, 11 are found in Nepal.

At a conservative estimate, the Nepali capital Kathmandu Valley and its fringes are home to around 369 species of butterfly.

Dr Dinesh Raj Bhuju, chief of Science and Technology at Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, attributed the drastic changes to global warming.

There has been an annual rise in mercury by .06 degree Celsius. Rampant deforestation, destruction of habitat, haphazard industrialization and unscientific use of pesticides and insecticides have gradually sounded a death knell for the rich and diverse fauna in Nepal, he said.


1 comment:

  1. There is a migration of butterflies into the plains too. This year, (October first week) I saw a blue pansy in the Park opposite my house in Gurgaon. Peacock pansies were common last year but not blue pansy.