There are numerous species and subspecies of butterflies in India. However, many of them like the Andaman crow, the Malabar tree nymph, the Tamil lacewing and the aristocratic Emperor of India, are becoming rarer by the day.
The state of Kerala is providing a sanctuary for these beautiful winged creatures, by opening a chain of butterfly parks. The Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), has chalked out a plan to create butterfly parks, or gardens, in selected schools, and other significant spots.
This exercise will have a two-pronged effect. Not only will people spend time in a beautiful park, away from the constant noise and pollution of the city, they will also be acquainted with these winged creatures, floating around them.
These dedicated parks will be filled with plants that have been grown using organic methods, which will ensure that butterflies are not exposed to any toxins.
Discussions are on with the Department of Education and Kerala Tourism to set up a string of butterfly parks, S Pradeep Kumar, the Director of KFRI said.”We have already set up 40 such parks in selected schools in Thrissur district. Discussions are going on now to create similar parks in more educational institutions across the state,” he told PTI.
The idea of butterfly parks in schools is one that can be implemented nationwide, if possible. Kumar has also indicated that these parks will play another role—that of monitoring the nearby environment. As butterflies are one of the most delicate creatures of our ecosystem, their presence is an indicator of the state of the environment of the area.
KFRI recently set up a similar a butterfly park in the premises of Kanakakkunnu Palace in Thiruvananthapuram, as part of the ongoing “Vasantholsavam,” the annual flower show.”Talks are going on with the Tourism Department to sign a MoU to make this park a permanent facility. This also is an experiment to know whether butterflies will thrive in the heart of the bustling city,” he said.
At present, KFRI has three butterfly gardens. One in its main campus at Peechi, another in the campus of the Teak Museum in Nilambur and one at the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in Kalpetta in Wayanad district.
Given that the parks are to be pollution and chemical free, butterfly populations will quite possibly thrive, and the city will get another space dedicated to greenery.