Thursday, 24 September 2015

First Ever Butterfly Survey in Kerala

Introduction

The Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department is going to launch the comprehensive exercise on butterflies that are endemic to the Ghats region, especially in Munnar hill range. As part of this exercise, the department is going to undertake the first ever comprehensive survey and scientific of butterflies living in the Munnar landscape. This was disclosed by the Wildlife Warden of Munnar G. Pramod. The data would be compiled into a book and a butterfly calendar for the region to help the wildlife enthusiasts to explore the area in a timely manner.

munnar butterfly

Munnar Habitats

This is a 3-day exercise that aims to document the presence of a wide variety of butterflies that have chosen the Munnar region as their habitat. This region has sub-habitats that uniquely meet the requirements of different types of butterfly species. We can find the large range of habitats that range from low-lying dry scrub forests of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary to Sholar forests that are seen on the ascending peaks of the Western Ghats. In between, a visitor can see wide stretches of grasslands that also give space for certain types of these winged species. Due to this reason, one can easily find the temperature gradient that varies with the altitude of the location from the sea level. As a result of this, one can see a wide variety of vegetation at different habitat locations. In all these locations, the visitors would find different types of butterflies.

munnar region

Comprehensive Survey

The Forest and Wildlife Department of Government of Kerala is going to conduct a 3-day survey and study of butterflies that live in the Munnar region. As many as 60 butterfly enthusiasts from across Kerala, including Kalesh Sadasivan of Travancore Natural History Society, Toms Augustine and B. Sreekumar of Kottayam Nature Society are taking part in this comprehensive exercise. Senior Wildlife Biologist Kunjhikrishnan would be coordinating the work as the program coordinator. The survey would be conducted at 4 Wildlife Sanctuaries such as Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, and national parks at Mathikettan Sola, Anamudy Sola, Pampadum Sola and Kurinjimala Sola. In all these places, 14 strategic base camps would be set up to cover each and every corner of the forest. According to the wildlife warden, the data would be assimilated in a structured manner using checklists and data sheets. These data would be critically analyzed using the data from GPS readings. The data from this survey would be compiled to make the Butterfly Calendar of the region.

butterfly survey

Butterflies Seen in Munnar

Munnar region has a large number of butterflies, which also include new species and those near extinction. They include Niligiri Clouded Yellow, Palni Four-ring and Niligiri Fritillary. These are rare in nature and found only in the Western Ghats. Then, there other like Davisons Bush Brown, Red Disk Bush Brown, etc. that have slightly wider habitat in this region, especially in the Southern Ghats. The presence of these butterflies would be documented in elaborate manner and published in the form of a book during the Wildlife Week Celebrations to be held in the first week of October 2015. This weeklong celebration would be conducted from October 2 to October 9, 2015 at Thiruvananthapuram.

butterfly species

Thuruvananthapuram Munnar, Kerala 685612, India