Adding another feather to its cap, Conservation Education Centre (CEC) — the Delhi unit of 130 years old NGO Bombay Nature History Society (BNHS) — made open the only Butterfly Park of NCR region for the general public, on Monday.
The Butterfly Park, was materialised at Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary (ABWLS) and inaugurated on the occasion of World Environment Day with the aim of increasing awareness as well as sensitizing on the subject of butterflies. The CEC is been working here since 2004 with department of forests and wildlife, and in past 15 years centre sensitize and aware people in various forms.
The idea of the park came after a visit to 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 spread in the area of 2.5 acres and 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 common and 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 micro-habitat 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.