Friday, November 12, 2010

Butterflies kiss Bannerghatta goodbye

From 20 species to 6 – blame the exodus on the pollution, climate and lack of funds
Posted On Friday, November 12, 2010 at 08:09:56 AM
How’s this for irony? The country’s first Butterfly Park at Bannerghatta, set up with much fanfare to conserve various species of these flitting beauties, is seeing a drastic drop in their numbers.

Collection at the Butterfly Park in Bannerghatta does not match the costs incurred. Weekdays are dry days and on weekends, the maximum revenue earned ranges between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000

While it was dwindling green cover that made sparrows take flight from the city, environmentalists attribute the butterfly problem to pollution. Spread over 7.5 acres at Bannerghatta Biological Park, it had close to 20 species of butterflies when it was inaugurated in 2006. But now, there are only about six species left. The Crimson Rose, Common Emigrant, Staineyar Red Tarret and Common Lime Butterflies are some of the survivors.
Going, going...Tourists would be drawn to the nearly 1,000 butterflies creating a riot of colour inside the polycarbonate dome a few years ago but it’s now difficult to find even a few hundred.

“Despite our staff going around the forest the entire day, scouting for butterflies, it is very difficult to get them. However, with great difficulty we have managed to get three to four different species with 60-70 butterflies,” said Krishna Kumar B, BBP deputy director.

The whys and whereforesOne reason for the fall in numbers is the climate. “The butterfly life span is about a week and they are active only when there is ample sunlight. So, the constantly cloudy skies and incessant rains don’t help the butterfly population,” said Krishna Kumar.

Harish Bhat, an ecologist and biodiversity expert at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, adds, “Butterflies are highly seasonal and even a slight change in the climatic condition will affect them. They can’t even fly when humidity levels are high. However, they are likely to return, especially on city outskirts, once the rainy season gets over.
Increased vehicular traffic close to the park and rising pollution levels have also taken a toll.

Rising cost, falling incomeMaintaining the park is also becoming increasingly difficult. Blame it on falling income and rising expenditure coupled with official apathy. For instance, though flowers are crucial for butterflies to thrive, the park is full of leafy plants and shrubs.

Also, there are about 15 staff attached to the butterfly park, including cleaners and technicians who breed butterflies at the specially designed laboratory there. But paying them is not easy since the collection at the park does not match the costs incurred. The revenue goes up to Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 only on weekends while weekdays are dry days.

“Since the entire venture is non-commercial, there is no separate budget and everything is dependent on the revenue,” explains Krishna Kumar.

Flying away
» Crimson Rose
» Common Crow (Missing)
» Common Emigrant
» Common or Striped Tiger (Missing)
» The Red Pierrot
» Southern Duffer (Missing)
» Lime Blue
» Malabar spotted flat (Missing)
» Common Jay (Missing)
» Red Helen (Missing)
» Common Rose (Missing)


1 comment:

  1. Kishen Das has already implied it today on the group - this report sucks at the science. The moot question is - was the model viable at all? Captive-mode (as opposed to free ranging) butterfly houses abroad have hordes of suppliers of immatures to supply them. I do not know if such a thing is possible in the Indian context. Plus, butterfly houses require considerable investment and a good revenue stream. Simply setting up this thing and to allow it to subside later is not the way to go.