Sunday, May 6, 2012

Butterfly Relocation Project pt. 2 ~ Heritage

Hey ya'll 

Five months ago, I was faced with the potential devastation of the way of life of my beloved butterflies. Due to expansion of the parking area, building of a highway, and construction of the university condominiums, large areas of land had to be cleared which in turn affected many of the butterflies' original breeding grounds/habitat. Not willing to leave anything to chance, I began to take proactive measures, culminating in Butterfly Relocation Project 1  which you can read all about HERE. To make a long story short, I scattered seeds of the butterflies' host plants in various locations around the same area (places which are less likely to be cleared for development) and began the slow and meticulous process of catching individual butterflies and releasing them at those sites.

Five months later, I had quite forgotten about my butterfly relocation sites, to be honest. Indeed, I had stopped checking up on them after the first month or so, but just by chance today I stumbled upon one of those sites again, and what appeared to be a barren and weed-strewn path turned out to be practically seething with butterflies!!! I had not seen them earlier because they were not flying high, rather, simply fluttering at ground level, feeding on the large variety of flowers that grew there naturally. The sight of so many butterflies... possibly the great, great, great grandchildren of the ones I relocated (many times over), fluttering about and not simply living, but thriving, was truly a sight to behold. It was like forgetting about a favorite childhood toy and then stumbling upon it by chance only to discover that it had improved better than ever! But don't just take my word of its success. I'll let these images do the talking. 

And in case you are hard pressed to believe that those tiny orange specks actually are butterflies...

Aren't they simply magnificent? The sight of them all, not just surviving, but thriving really brought a warm feeling to my heart!!! And it turns out that the Tawny coster (acraea terpsicore) were not the only butterflies that have reappropriated the environment as their home. Others, like the common grass yellow (eurema hecabe) and various other satyriinae were present too (not to mention a host of lycaeniidae and hesperiidae that I could not identify). Other more prolific butterflies that seem to have settled there were a pansy butterfly (though not the blue pansy, as I had hoped, but the peacock). 

What a beautiful sight, and what an inspiration as well!!! But the butterflies' settling here is anything but permanent. Land can still be claimed for construction and this little paradise that I have created can disappear in but a blink of an eye. If anything, this  has given me renewed drive to push for the butterfly conservation garden on our campus grounds... a place where we can shift the population to that will be safe for development, safe from pesticides. A place where the plants can thrive and butterflies may feed and breed and fly freely. A paradise for butterflies.

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.



catchherfart said...

Omg!!! i almost cried when i read that the butterflies are gonna be affected! :'( thank goodness for u! You are such a fantastic and awesome

Cyren said...

It's quite sad isn't it? But if all goes well this Thursday, I will be starting plans to relocate them to a permanent garden in Monash University, where they can always be safe from harm :)