Sangareddy: “I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?” These were the words of 4th Century Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zhou, which stands testimony to the fact that butterflies have been creatures of fascination for humans for centuries.
According to studies, the world is home to over 15,700 species of butterflies and moths, and experts in the field have identified over 1,500 species in India alone. Closer home, lepidopterists, wildlife photographers and butterfly enthusiasts in Hyderabad joined hands to identify butterfly and moth species in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh by forming the Butterfly Conservation Society, Hyderabad (BCS) in 2006. During the first year, they identified 80 kinds of butterflies and moths.
As their fascination for the beautiful creature kept growing year-on-year, the BCS members continued to identify new species, and the Society identified 180 species across Telangana in 2020.
The Society has also been bringing out a newsletter every year on their work since 2019 and named it ‘Thithlee’ (the Hindi name for butterfly). They published the e-newsletter for 2020, the second edition, this month.
Tej Kumar, BCS-Hyderabad president, says: “Developing habitat is very important for conservation of butterflies. Apart from planting tall trees, it is equally important to raise shrubs and herbs for their conservation.”
Kalluri Subramanyam, founder member, says butterflies usually live in wet places and their role is very important in food chains. “It is a good prey for birds, spiders and many other insects and it is also a good pollinator. It feeds on a wide variety of plants,” he adds.
Dr Suryakala says the Society was seriously working towards increasing their tribe to document more and more butterflies and moths in Telangana. Since women love watching butterflies, she says the Society intended to involve more women in their efforts.
G Sailu says Amrabad Tiger Reserve, Kawal Tiger Reserve, Pocharam Wildlife Sanctuary, where over 100 species were sighted officially, were hotspots for watching and documenting butterflies.
BCS, an active body
The BCS-Hyderabad has been conducting several activities to encourage documentation of butterflies and moths in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. They have identified over 190 species in the two Telugu States. The BCS has conducted several programmes to sensitise people on the conservation of butterflies and the role of butterfly as a pollinator.
The BCS had also organised an all India meet on butterflies at Maredmilli forest area in Andhra Pradesh. The representatives of BCS have participated in International Conference on Biodiversity (CoP-11) in Hyderabad.
Besides, they have organised a number of field trips for photographers and butterfly enthusiasts across Telangana as part of efforts to identify more species. They have put up several photo exhibitions to educate the people.
From 2020 onwards, they also decided to conduct competitions on butterfly photography. The Society, which was started with less than a dozen members, now has over 70 members. The Society has called upon enthusiasts, lepidopterists and wildlife photographer to join hands with them to identify butterfly species across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
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