Hyderabad: City entomologists have expressed concern over the dwindling number of butterflies in the state.
Considered as the indicators of a healthy eco-system, the number of butterfly species have come down gradually from 116, as recorded last in October 2012, to just 35 this year.
Post monsoon is considered very favourable for butterflies, during which the number of species is usually high. However, experts have not witnessed a rise in their numbers in and around the city this year.
Pollution, habitat destruction, use of insecticides or pesticides and change in climatic conditions are a few major reasons for this decrease, they say.
Hyderabad hosts five butterfly parks — four open parks, one each at the Nehru Zoological Park, Mahavir Harini Vanasthali National Park, Shamirpet Deer Park and the Mrugavani National Park in Chilkur and an enclosed one at the Ramoji Film City.
A few species, namely the Blue Mormom, Striped Tiger and the Great Orange Tip, which have now entered the endangered list, used to be frequent visitors at these parks, specially in December.
“None of these parks have captured butterflies. Here, the concept is to create a congenial environment with many nectar and host plants, which attracts the butterflies. Habitat destruction is the main factor for disturbing the number of their species.
They are not able to get feeding material. And also because of the fact that some butterflies can feed and multiply only on a few species of plants, many end up migrating to other places,” said S. Tej Kumar, president of the Butterfly Conservation Society.
“It is very important to maintain the butterfly population as their number indicates the health of an ecosystem. This steep decrease in the number of species is a warning for us to grow more indigenous flowering plants,” said A. Shankaran, curator of the Nehru Zoological Park.
A few corporate companies like Deloitte and GATI have taken up plantation work in the park, helping create favourable environment for butterflies,” informed A. Shankaran, curator of the Nehru Zoological Park.
Stressing on the need for preserving them and not killing even the larval forms, Anuradha Vinodh, education officer of the Wildlife Education and Extension wing, falling under the curator of National Parks, AP Forest Department said, “Very often many of us kill caterpillars whenever we see them. We should stop killing them and leave them back either on the same plants or somewhere in greenery.
The state, about three decades ago, boasted almost 200 species of butterflies and now it has decreased to almost one –fourth of that number. We should retrospect and plant more indigenous species,” she said....