Delhi: 71 butterfly species spotted
Participants spotted 71 species of butterflies in the fourth edition of Delhi’s annual Big Butterfly Count, organised by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
Sohail Madan, centre manager of BNHS at the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, said the survey was done to collate all recorded sightings of butterflies in Delhi-NCR and to create a platform to share and learn about different species of butterflies.
Among biodiversity parks covered this year, 30 butterfly species were spotted in Yamuna Biodiversity Park, 22 were seen in Tilpath Valley Biodiversity Park, 33 in Kamala Nehru Ridge, and 12 in South Delhi Biodiversity Park.
Apart from these, 41 species were spotted in Tughlaqabad Biodiversity Park and 56 in the Aravalli Biodiversity Park.
Around 115 butterfly species are native to the National Capital Region.
“The sightings of butterflies is the first sign that the environment is improving. While many people share their sightings through pictures on social media but that doesn’t reach out to as many people. However, through a common medium all sightings can be recorded and can be later used by others,” said Madan.
This year, volunteers also spotted the Indian grizzled skipper butterfly for the first time in the Yamuna Biodiversity Park.
Experts said many species, during the Covid-19 lockdown, were seen to have reacquired geographical areas where they had become extinct.
M Shah Hussain of Aravalli Biodiversity Park said, “Butterflies are a very important component of nature and their presence in any area in large numbers is an indicator of environment’s quality. The first action-based initiative for the conservation of butterflies was started in biodiversity parks, and to showcase butterflies to nature lovers, conservatories in natural settings were established in biodiversity parks”.
Faiyaz A Khudsar of Yamuna Biodiversity Park said, “Butterfly sightings are proof of the efficient functioning of biodiversity. It shows that we have been able to successfully create an environment where such species can thrive.”
Last year, the survey spotted 66 new species of butterflies, including some rare ones such as Brown Awl, Dingy Swift and Common Red Flash. The list also included common species such as Plain Tiger, Common Grass Yellow, Mottled Emigrant and Common Emigrant.
In 2018, the volunteers spotted 69 butterfly species, and 75 in 2017.