In course of the project, for the Photo Documentation and Data Collection in the different butterfly hotspots of West Bengal, the WLB team have planned and decided to move to every butterfly infested location at least one time each of the four seasons- Pre-monsoon, Monsoon, Post-Monsoon and Winter. In case of the local Butterfly gardens the number of visits shall be two times per season.
The close dome shaped arena for culturing the different species of butterflies.
The entrance of the Prakiti Tirtha (New Town Eco Park) butterfly garden
At the early stage, the WLB team ventured to the nearest butterfly location in Kolkata, the Prakiti TirthaNew Town Eco Park, where the garden entail of a great dome to encompass a vegetal habitation containing diverse species of flowering plants and perennials that support a huge variety of butterflies systematized in a water body. There are nearly 20 species of butterflies declared in the butterfly garden. As the particular area is treated as the research area, the area inside the dome is strictly prohibited for photography.The team is planning to approach this special interest group (especially the researchers) to join and enrich wikipedia in near future.The team has collected information regarding the species to create few new articles as well as update existing articles. We have only been able to capture photographs of few species as the number of butterflies roving outside the dome were fewer that day.
Outcome from Prakiti Tirtha (New Town Eco Park butterfly garden)
Based on the outcome of the first project the WLB team is preparing for a broader spectrum. As this project is initiated in and around West Bengal, our next butterfly-enriched location is going to be Jayanti of Buxa Hill in Dooars.As many as 7 rivers murmur through the Buxa Forest and the riverbeds at many places are the favourite haunt of different species of butterflies especially for mud puddling. The rivers include Sankosh, Raidak, Jayanti, Bala and others. Crossing Jayanti river-bed, the next destination shall be Mahakaal (location famous for Mahakaal Temple). The place is a bit remote, characterised by crude nature, far from the madding crowd and trekking is the only passage to the virgin world largely infested with butterflies of a huge number of species of which 50% of the butterflies seen in Bengal can be traced and photographed by one interested in this field. Lepchakha,the team's final destination, is a small village inhabitated by Drukpa Community people on Buxa Hill top inside Buxa Tiger reserve in Alipurduar district, is popularly believed to be a place where from the stairs to heaven ascends and to add to its heavenly charm patrols the throng of multi coloured scaly winged butterflies manifesting vibgyor feast for the eyes of the nature lovers.The drukpa people of Bhutanese origin are the original and prime inhabitants of this place. Silence looms large at every step at Lepchakha securing a tranquil acceptance of life thereon and the environment adorns her with all virginity presenting a cosy and fit habitat for the butterflies in the lap of Mother Nature.
A vast magnitude of butterflies add colour to the forest and river beds of this location as well as adjacent areas.
Butterflies survive in remote mountainous regions of the tropical forest area where conditions are suitable for them. Lepchakha hosts similar surroundings and has the reputation of being the habitat of a huge variety of butterflies.
The area is contributed by 7 rivers like Sankosh, Jayanti etc which ensure a great chance of Mud-puddling of butterflies in the area.
Hub of tourism in Buxa area, the smoke emitted by vehicles and road kills are common reason of butterfly extinction. hence, semi-remote rural areas with less crowded and less polluted surroundings, like Lepchakha appears to be a fascinating haunt for butterfly watching.
Our route from Jayanti(Buxa Hill) to Mahakal Hill via Khatlum river (local name) and the conflux of Sachipu and Katlum rivers ensures a sheer chance of Mud-puddling. The Katlum river and Sachipu river create a wetland down the river beds as well as in the natural forests that serve as a nice habitat of butterfly and a fine bed for their activities.
The butterfly infested locations of Buxa Hill and forest covers a fairly large 760 sq. km area and hence it is imperative for us to restrict our activities in a small area of about 15-20km for better outcome and concentrating our focus for comb-searching the butterfly habitat zones of a small and prospective locations.
The proximity of a small village will secure our accommodation and at the same time we can get local information and local help and guidance to reach to our requisite spot more suitably.
Why we choose this time
The time of the proposed trip of WLB team to Jayanti and Lepchakha is well within the pre-monsoon Dry season of butterfly domain which is said to be from March to May.
We have chosen the pre-monsoon time for documentation and capturing pictures of butterflies along with their eggs,pupa and larva (as per availability) also to forgo a comparative study with our next post--monsoon wet season butterfly documentation and shooting programme at similar location during September to November.
Proposed Outcome from the Project in Jayanti and Lepchakha
Images contribution to Commons: 200 Featuring Adult (imago), egg, larva (or caterpillar) and chrysalis (pupa or coccoon) etc. During the project survey we will note behavioral pattern of butterflies like mud-puddling, basking,frass chains, collection of nectar,Hill-topping,Ovipositor,mimicry and along with this we also identifing the habits and habitats of butterflies and Larval Host Plant etc.
New articles creation in Bengali Language:Approximately 30% from the list of Butterflies found in West Bengal.
Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary(CKBS),commonly known as "Kayal-er Bagan" is situated in Narendrapur, South 24-Parganas. Though the main attraction in this Sanctuary is birds, but a large group of butterflies along with the ferns and orchids are also available. The WLB team is planning to venture in this Sanctuary to capture different species of butterflies along with their host plants.
List of Reference Books beneficial for this Project
The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma (Butterflies) by Charles Thomas Bingham, Vol 1 (1905), Vol 2 (1907)
Butterflies of Peninsular India by Krushnamegh Kunte, 2000
Paschimbanger Prajapati by Judhajit Dasgupta, 2006
The book of Indian Butterflies by Isaac Kehimkar, 2008
Butterflies and Wildflowers of Tollygunge Club: A pictorial field guide by Arjan Basu Roy, 2011
A pictorial guide: Butterflies of Gorumara National Park by Department of Forests,Govt. of West Bengal, 2013
Butterflies of the Garo Hills by Krushnamegh Kunte, Gaurav Agavekar, Roham Lovalekar, Kedar Tokekar, 2013
সুন্দরবনের কিছু পরিচিত প্রজাপতি- অর্জন বসু রায়, সারিকা বৈদ্য, লিপিকা রায়, ২০১৪
A synoptic catalogue of the Butterflies of India by R.K.Varshney and Peter Smetacek, 2015