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Plans afoot to attract more butterflies

Winged beauties:Different species of butterflies at the Tropical Butterfly Conservatory in Srirangam .M. Moorthy

Five-member team visits Tropical Butterfly Conservatory at Srirangam, moots ways to increase revenue
More than two-and-half years after it was thrown open to visitors, a team of visitors visited the lush green Tropical Butterfly Conservatory at Srirangam here recently and offered a slew of suggestions for improvements at the conservatory.

The five - member team spent a day going around the butterfly conservatory to get a first hand account of the improvements that have already been made since its inception besides offering a slew of suggestions to make further improvements.

Accompanied by the District Forest Officer, Tiruchi Sujatha, the experts team comprised of N. Satheesh, former District Forest Officer, Tiruchi and presently a Conservator in the Forest Department, George Mathews, a retired entomologist from Kerala, Gopalan, Head, Department of Botany, Karpagam University, Coimbatore and Mohan Prasath representing the Act for Butterflies, an non-governmental organisation based in Coimbatore.

Maintained and run by the Forest Department, the butterfly conservatory, the first-of-its-kind in the State thrown open to public in November 2015, has seen a steady rise in the number of butterfly species and visitors ever since it started to function.

A Forest Department official said the experts team was satisfied with the vegetation inside which has attracted different species of butterfly. The team members suggested that the number of hose plants be increased inside the conservatory established on an area of 25 acres. This is to further increase the population of butterfly species.

The team was also of the view that additional fountains and water streams should be set up inside to maintain and increase the humidity besides suggesting improvements in landscaping to make it more aesthetic. The official said the team also mooted the idea of increasing revenue through raising and sale of seedlings and eco-products.

Notwithstanding the fact that the conservatory was being visited by school and college students from Tiruchi and other places, the expert team suggested that more awareness on butterflies, the need to conserve them and their important role in maintaining ecological balance could be driven home to the young minds through a tie-up with educational institutions for research purposes as well. Engaging students interested in joining the periodical butterfly survey being conducted inside the conservatory was also put forth.

The number of visitors since the opening of the conservatory has already crossed 7.5 lakh including 60,000 students with the revenue generated being Rs. 1.05 crore. The Forest Department has plans to create additional facilities inside the conservatory which includes a medicinal garden and a virtual insect world.

A few months ago, the conservatory crossed a milestone when the 100th species of butterfly was recorded. New species have been recorded during survey that is being conducted once in 15 days every month since March last year. The lush green environment inside has attracted number of butterfly species, says the official.

The team also suggested additional fountains and water streams inside to maintain and increase the humidity, besides improving the landscaping to make it more aesthetic


Forest Department

Source - The Hindu

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