Kerala

Campaign to select country’s national butterfly

Indian Jezebel  

A citizen campaign to drum up support for identifying a national butterfly has gained momentum with close to half a lakh people joining the movement from across the country.

Spearheaded by butterfly researchers, scientists and enthusiasts, the National Butterfly Campaign has revived focus on the relevance of the charming scaly winged insects in enhancing biodiversity. An indicator of healthy ecosystems, butterflies are found in wide varieties in biodiversity hotspots that teem with rich and diverse flora and fauna.

Vital link

Butterfly researchers also point out that these insects form a vital link in the food and life chain by becoming prey for birds and insects as well as through their role in pollination. The unique wing colour patterns and designs have also inspired various forms of art, fashion and culture. These insects among others are also known to anticipate environmental hazards, including pollution.

Kalesh Sadasivan, research associate, Travancore Nature History Society, pointed out that India was yet to designate a national butterfly despite being home to over 1,300 species belonging to six butterfly families that were primarily found in northeast India, Western Ghats and other mountainous and plateau regions. Several countries, including Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia and Bhutan, have national butterflies.

The contenders

As part of identifying butterfly species that could make it to the coveted status, the National Butterfly Campaign Consortium prepared a long-list of 50 butterflies that was further trimmed to seven.

Krishna Peacock (Papilio krishna), Indian Jezebel or Common Jezebel (Delias eucharis), Orange Oakleaf (Kallima inachus), Five-bar Swordtail (Graphium antiphates), Indian Nawab, Yellow Gorgon and Northern Junglequeen (Stichophthalma camadeva) are the contenders for the premier position.

A country-wide online poll that commenced on September 11 to identify the most-favoured butterfly species has currently generated 42,090 with Maharashtra recording the highest number of votes — 16,210. Several people have also cast their votes in West Bengal (3,029) and Karnataka (2,435), while 786 nature lovers from Kerala have also joined the campaign.

Cast your votes

The public poll, which can be accessed on https://forms.gle/u7WgCuuGSYC9AgLG6, will continue till October 8. A formal proposal with the top-ranking species will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 11:53:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/campaign-to-select-countrys-national-butterfly/article32743646.ece

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