Butterfly Conservation- Part III

Conservation of Butterflies Part III


Butterflies of Delhi

-Dr.S.P. Surya Prakash



Despite being India’s most polluted city with a vehicular pollution of around 53 lakhs vehicles, Delhi is home to around 80 butterflies and almost every species of butterfly can be seen in the 1000 acre beautiful campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi because it has all native grasses , native trees and shrubs  they all serve as a species –specific host plant within campus, I have already started an awareness programme among students from Life Sciences and Environmental sciences about  Birds ,Butterflies ,Reptiles and other wild animals of JNU campus and results are encouraging I am getting all support from   JNU authorities and students  for  the work I am on the way to prepare a “Pictorial data Bank of the butterflies of JNU” which may help all other butterfly lovers of Delhi. 


Similar programmes like butterfly walk, breakfast with butterfly etc are run at Asola Bhatti Wild Life Sanctury,  under Sajeeve,T.K., BNHS’s   Education officer, at Aravali Biodiversity Park, by Dr. M.Shah Hussain under CMDE programme of Delhi University, and at Yamuna Bidiversity Park by Dr. Faiyaz.   Okhla Bird Park is  home to many butterflies at the bank of river Yamuna.  These places are the other main hot spots of butterfly diversity in New Delhi..



Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) has listed 41 butterflies as protected under wild life protection act 1972. The list includes 8 species under schedule I, 26 species in schedule II and 7 species in schedule IV. 300 species have already included in red data book as endangered species, which is very alarming (The Tribune).


Recently three French people came to Sikkim on student visa and started collecting butterflies and moths along with other insects; vigilant ‘butterfly India’ activists spotted them and they were nabbed by police and released after a fine of just Rs. 25000 each. 


Large-scale poaching and international nexus of smugglers is the biggest threat to Himalayan butterflies like Apollo and Swallowtail butterflies which are most threatened species. Smugglers engage locals specially children in Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rohtang Pass, Assam and W.Ghats and pay them 30 –50 rupees for every butterfly they catch for them. Depending upon the species these are sold in the international market, some times for even as high as 2500—3500 dollars. China and South East Asia along with Thailand are the main hubs of international butterfly smuggling from India. Poachers come to India on  student visas and they collect rare butterflies carry them in envelops , matchboxes and use many more criminal methods for their transportation and not only that they throw away all those beautiful butterflies whose wings are damaged during catch and this number may even touch to thousand some times.

Lack of expertise in the identification of butterflies poached help poachers to have an easy escape; there are many reported incidences where international smugglers were released from police custody due to lack of information on identification.


These Lepidoptera are killed, dried and used for greeting cards, and for other ornamental and decoration purposes.






1- Habitat destruction of forest cover especially for species –specific host plants should be reviewed time to time.


2 - Increased vigilance on poaching of butterflies from the areas where they are found in abundance.


3- Educate school children from primary level by introducing butterfly chapters in science books about their importance in various fields related to human life.


4 – Recognise and reward those experts who are already engaged in butterfly conservation programmes and are working on their own as  field guides in their area locally.


5 - Sponsored symposia and seminars in every academic institute for updating information on butterfly status in the country should be encouraged through government funding. 

6 - Farmers in villages should be educated about butterfly’s importance as a pollinator in agriculture.


7 - A data bank at national level should be created where information  related to butterflies and their conservation is maintained with all details including regional nomenclature of all butterflies.


8 - Academic institutions should discourage students for submitting annual     projects on butterfly collection and their albums.


9 – Discourage use of over dose of pesticides in crop fields and avoid overgrazing .They kill eggs,and larvae of butterflies.

10 – Farmers  should be made aware about crop rotation and monoculture plantation should be reduced. A study conducted in Assam Tea Estates shows that butterfly density was low in tea gardens  because of monoculture as compared to other green forests.


Dr. Surya Prakash


(‘BNHS’, ‘Butterfly India’, ‘Delhi Bird’)

Room # 214 , C.C.I.F.

School of Life Sciences

Jawaharlal Nehru University

(Photographs of Commonriceswift and limebutterfly by Dr.Surya Prakash)

Join Us    

Download IWC Android app     IWC Android app

Copyright © 2001 - 2021 Indian Wildlife Club. All Rights Reserved. | Terms of Use

Website developed and managed by Alok Kaushik