Govind D. Belgaumkar

Rs. 5-crore butterfly park at Bannerghatta has only a few varieties

BANGALORE: Most visitors to the Rs. 5-crore butterfly park at the Bannerghatta National Park are returning disappointed.

A cross-section of the people who visited the park on Sunday told The Hindu that they could not find more than four to six varieties of butterflies. The ones they saw were not unusual. A woman coming out of the park said: "20 rupayee danda (Rs. 20 went down the drain)". The entry fee is Rs. 20 for adults and Rs. 10 for children.

Over 50 children of a Government Higher Primary School felt that it was good. When probed further they said they saw no unusual butterflies. They were apparently impressed by the imposing dome-like structure, although they do not seemed to have understood the hi-tech audio-visual presentation in English.

Domes

The 50-metre pathway from the main gate to the domes housing the actual butterfly park and info graphic exhibition hall is impressive. Those who buy tickets near the entry point find interesting signages on the inspirational role of butterflies in literature and creative endeavours. All these build the expectations of visitors. What they get to see inside the park, however, fails to enthuse them.

In reverse order

A visitor said people should go through the park in the reverse order to make the most out of their visit. They should be shown the audio-visual show first, and then be run through the pictures, descriptions and info graphics about the world of butterflies and their lifecycle. Only after this, should they be sent to the actual butterfly park.

Many visitors wished the park had guides who could help people identify different varieties of butterflies. K. Chandrashekara, Head of the Department of Entomology, University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), said the park would be fully developed by the end of 2007 when it would have about 25 varieties of butterflies. Butterfly activity would be much better during the summer vacations. Winter was bad for butterfly diversity.

He wants people visit it to learn about butterflies rather than to look for rarity. Besides, you get a chance to look at butterflies from "close quarters," Dr. Chandrashekara said.

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