Constantly denied a secure habitat, the small winged wonders were fast vanishing from the city. The Butterfly Conservatory at Lodhi Garden will definitely give a boost to their population in the Capital.
“Spread over three acres of especially landscaped area which has been carved out of the 90-acre Lodhi Garden, the conservatory boasts of more than 35 trees and 48 species of nectar and larval food plants for butterflies,” said K K Singh, deputy director (Horticulture) of NDMC.
The conservatory is a joint effort of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), University of Delhi’s Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems (CEMDE) and Green Circle, a group of green activists.
The inspiration for the Lodi Garden conservatory came from the success of the Aravali Biodiversity Park.
CEMDE’s C R Babu, who has been associated with the Aravali Park and has worked on this project, said: “Of the species reported in Delhi three decades ago, many have vanished.”
Babu said the Aravali park experiment was excellent. “When it started three years ago, there were barely 17 species and now we have as many as 74 species there,” he said.
Lodhi Garden has everything — sun, shade, dampness, air circulation and isolation (from public) — to encourage butterfly population.
“It can be a wake up tool for environment education,” said Suhas Borker, founder member of Green Circle. “We go in for protection of tigers. But smaller things like butterflies are the bio-indicators of ecological health.”
Bikram Grewal, a bird expert and author of several books on birds, said they were an integral part of a long food chain.
“Species like butterflies, bees and insects are also important pollinating agents,” he said.
Now, what could be better news than this for environmentalists and nature lovers? A butterfly park at Nehru Park in Chanakyapuri is in the pipeline.