Itanagar: As part of observance of Big Butterfly Month 2023, the Kamlang Tiger Reserve in Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh has, for the first time ever, conducted a butterfly walk and nature trail event in association with Wiki Loves Butterflies (WLB) and AMYAA, a local NGO.
The main goals of the event were to uncover the diversity of undiscovered butterflies and to expose all participants to a wide audience. It also served to raise awareness of the tiger reserve’s breathtaking wildlife and sceneries.
The event attracted the participation of students from Wakro-based Apna Vidya Bhavan, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Government Secondary School and Don Bosco School, and Arunachal University of Studies, Namsai, besides the research scholars from Rajiv Gandhi University, Doimukh (Itanagar) and North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong as well as several butterfly enthusiasts from adjacent districts.
Aditya Das, a field biologist and the event’s lead planner, gave a brief presentation about the value of butterflies, the need for conservation, and ways that every one of us may help, while Range Forest Officer Bunty Tao gave a brief introduction regarding Kamlang TR and its biodiversity to kick off the programme. Following that, the young participants followed suit and spoke of their excitement to experience the tiger reserve’s uncharted diversity on this, their first visit.
The programme began with a butterfly walk up to Champa bridge, one of the hanging bridge locations in the tiger reserve, from Mithun Gate, a birdwatching and butterfly watch viewpoint area. The participants, led by subject matter specialists, were split up into groups. The scientist assisted the participants in correctly identifying and cataloguing the butterflies and gave the learners a comprehensive understanding of the abundant biodiversity and untold treasures that science has yet to uncover.
Around 20 species of butterflies like Green Dragon tail, Spotted Sawtooth, White Dragon tail, Common Mormon, Common Yeoman, Purple Sapphire, Commander, Popinjay, Great Orange Tip, Chocolate Albatross, Black Prince, Common Jester, Elbowed Pierrot, Straight Pierrot, Tiger Hopper, Glassy Tiger, Common Rose were identified and recorded along the walk. “If the weather was excellent, the number would have gone up, but the enthusiasm and interest didn’t let them down,” said Jumdo Geiyi, Field Director & DFO, Kamlang TR & WLS.
The students also enthusiastically participated in interactive games like Nature Bingos and Nature Art Installation activities and had fun while playing. The range officer gave out participation certificates and prizes to the victors after the game and walk session.
Big Butterfly Month is a celebration of butterflies aimed at conducting a nationwide citizen science program during which individuals, communities, and organizations come together to celebrate and raise awareness about butterflies and their importance in assessing the health of our environment. It is celebrated all through the month of September when butterflies are most active and abundant.