From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Tropical Butterfly Conservatory
Mains level : Significance of butterflies for ecosystem
The Tropical Butterfly Conservatory Tiruchirappalli (TBCT) has been developed in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirappalli to create awareness among the public about the importance of the butterfly and its ecology.
Tropical Butterfly Conservatory
- The TBC is located in the Upper Anaicut Reserve Forest, sandwiched between the Cauvery and Kollidam rivers in Tiruchirappalli.
- It was inaugurated during November 2015 at Tiruchirappalli with the objective of propagating the importance of butterflies and conserving the biodiversity of the district through environmental education.
- It is spread over 27 acres and is considered to be Asia’s largest butterfly park.
- The park has an outdoor as well as indoor conservatory, a ‘Nakshatra Vanam’ and a ‘Rasi Vanam’ in addition to a breeding lab for non-scheduled species.
- So far, about 109 butterfly species have been observed here.
- Eggs of non-scheduled butterfly species are collected and bred in captivity in the in-house incubation laboratory by keeping them in ventilated plastic containers with the leaves of host plants as feed.
- After attaining the transformation of larva (caterpillar) and pupa (transition), the adult butterfly finally comes out with gorgeous colours and at this stage they are released into the natural habitat.
- Non-scheduled butterfly species are bred and released by the park authorities into their natural surroundings.
Significance of butterflies
- Butterflies are known for their intrinsic, aesthetic, educational, scientific, ecological, health and economic values.
- As butterflies form an important part of nature’s food web, it is very essential to protect the species for ecological balance.
- They play a key role in the pollination of plant species, the global food chain depends on their well-being.
- The major threats to butterfly diversity are destruction, degradation and fragmentation of their habitats, grazing, fires and application of pesticides and weedicides in agricultural and urban ecosystems.