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Additional attractions planned at Tropical Butterfly Conservatory

Inner view of the lush green Tropical Butterfly Conservatory at Srirangam.M. Srinath

The 100th species was recorded by an MCC student recently
Attracting a steady stream of visitors daily, the lush green Tropical Butterfly Conservatory at Srirangam could have additional amenities if the Forest department has its way.

The department is readying a fresh proposal containing a host of new works it plans to put in place inside the sprawling conservatory controlled by it.

A virtual insect world, medicinal garden, floral garden and new fountains are the new works that are being proposed by the department.

The detailed proposal, which is being giving finishing touches, will be sent to the Forest department, Tourism department and the district administration soon seeking funds from any one of them, said the department authorities here. The new works will cost Rs. 1.2 crore.

A new building to house the virtual insect world will come up inside the conservatory — the first of its kind in Tamil Nadu — which was thrown open to public in November 2015.

The virtual insect world is being conceived in such a manner that there will be scope for further improvements in the future with sound and light effects, District Forest Officer D. Sujatha said.

Sandwiched between the Cauvery and the Coleroon rivers, the conservatory, established on an 25-acre area, houses several butterfly species. It crossed a milestone a few days ago when the total number of butterfly species recorded inside touched 100.

The 100th species was recorded last Friday by a postgraduate zoology student of Madras Christian College, Chennai, during a visit to the conservatory. The department official said the common name of the 100th species recorded was Pointed ciliate blue, which was a rare species with its distribution in India and Sri Lanka.

The Forest department has been carrying out survey once in 15 days every month in association with Act For Butterflies — a voluntary organisation — from March 2017 to record new species.

When the conservatory was thrown open to the public in November 2015, 38 species were recorded then by the expert committee. Subsequently, the number of species gradually started to increase because of improvement of the habitats by planting of suitable host and nectar plants for butterflies. The butterflies lay eggs on the host plants, paving the way for next generation, said a department official.

Indoor and outdoor conservatories, ‘Nakshathra Vanam’, active and passive humidifiers, aroma garden, amphitheatre to create awareness to school students on butterfly and its importance and boating for children are some of the attractions inside the conservatory at present.

The conservatory has emerged a major tourist hot spot with the number of visitors from Tiruchi and other places already exceeding seven lakh from the time of its inauguration, said the official. The revenue earned was over Rs. 85 lakh in the last two-and-half years.


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