Saturday, 10 April 2010

Delhi to get butterfly park

Tourists and officials visiting the Capital during the Commonwealth Games this October can look forward to a visual delight. A butterfly conservatory at the Yamuna Bio Diversity Park, with exotic species of butterflies and dragonflies, is being developed by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Delhi University.

Sprawled across two acres, the conservatory will rear butterflies in the open unlike other conservatories that rear them artificially in an enclosed area. The park has 45 species of butterflies and 30 species of dragonflies.

"We have created all the natural factors in the conservatory to let butterflies complete their life cycle right from laying eggs till they emerge from their cocoons," said Faiyaz Khudsar, the scientist in charge of the bio diversity park.

The conservatory will be open to the Commonwealth Games officials and tourists during the October event.

"The conservatory will make it a different experience altogether. We are planning to keep it open on weekends during the Games," Khudsar added.

He said it took three-and-a-half years to develop the conservatory, adding that it was not enough to plant any flowering plant while creating a butterfly garden.

According to Khudsar, butterflies lay eggs on specific host plants because their caterpillars feed only on those. "We have planted 150 species of host plants. A large number of eggs have been laid," he added.

For instance, plain tiger butterflies lay their eggs on calotropis plants, peacock pensy and blue pensy butterflies on rualiea, salmon Arab on miswak, lemon butterfly on citrus plants and the pioneer butterfly on Cassia.

The conservatory is circular. In the outer circle, host plants are planted so that butterflies are attracted to them and start laying eggs there. There are two water bodies for the butterflies, too.

"Butterflies need moisture to help them grow soon," said Khudsar.

The use of chemical pesticides in plants keeps butterflies away. So only organic manures and ecological pest management has been used. "There are several parks where such fertilisers are used and so very few butterflies go there," said Mohammad Faisal, entomologist at the park.

A normal butterfly cycle lasts from 10 to 22 days. Trees such as Arjuna, Lasora, Jamuna have been planted. "Shading is also an important component for butterfly cultivation.

In enclosed conservatories, shading is done through the roof, here we have used trees," said Faisal.

Numerous flowering plants have been planted to provide nectar for the insects.

Thirty species of dragonflies are also thriving in the butterfly conservatory. Adequate water bodies have been created for it.

"A one-kilometre stretch along the Yamuna can reveal at least two to three species of dragonflies, but in the small water bodies at the park, we have 30 species. This has been possible because of the quality of the water," said Khudsar.

Dragonflies feed on mosquitoes and mosquito larvae.

The Yamuna Biodiversity Park was opened seven years ago. It is slated to act as a heritage site and an ideal alternative habitat for migratory and resident bird species.


Anonymous said...

its a great work to be done by the dda not only for the cwg but also for the people.its high time we realise the importance of butterflies and help in their protection

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