Tripura's lone butterfly park a major tourist attraction

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Representative Image | Photo: PTI

Agartala: Nestled in a village near the India-Bangladesh international border in Tripura's South district, a butterfly park developed by the forest department is now a major attraction for tourists from different parts of the country and also Bangladesh.

The Butterfly EcoPark at Chottakhola, close to the Trishna WildLife sanctuary is the first butterfly park of northeast. It was inaugurated in 2016 on 5.5 hectares of land having 250 species of butterflies.

"Many tourists are visiting the butterfly park. There are domestic tourists and also from neighbouring Bangladesh. The park is near the endangered bison park at Trishna wildlife sanctuary and Indo-Bangla Maitri Park to commemorate the Bangladesh liberation war. So, tourists can see three spots in one visit", Deputy Conservator of Forest, Krishnagopal Roy told PTI.

He said there is a breeding facility for the winged creature and many plants which are favourite to the butterfly are planted for creating a good habitat for the insect and artificial foods are also distributed at times.

Tripura Tourism minister Sushanta Chowdhury said Trishna Wild Life sanctuary and its surroundings attract a large number of tourists and it will help in economic development of the state.

Chowdhury stressed the need for developing a tourist circuit integrating other attractive sites of the area.

According to wildlife and environment experts, butterflies are deemed to be indicators of a good ecological balance and healthy nature.

The forest department has decided to promote butterflies as an aspect of tourism development in Tripura as tourists from the state and even from an outside visit to experience the soothing appearance of butterflies in swarms moving from one side of the park to another.

"There is plenty of scope to promote butterflies as a tourist attraction as the state has its own variety of vegetation having many plants with medicinal values that grow here naturally, and shelters more than 250 species of butterflies. All these butterflies have their own specific character and give the spectator an unforgettable experience", Roy said.

The department has carried out survey across the state and found that such parks could be set up in twenty more places, forest officials said.

"The lifespan of butterflies is very short. They live only from 15 days to about 30 days. But even in this short period of time, the butterfly brings joy to people. They play an important role in beautifying the ecosystem of the environment", Chowdhury said.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), KS Shethy said "Even though the size of Tripura is small, there is no dearth of wildlife and biodiversity here. Tripura has about 250 species of butterflies. These colourful butterflies are loved by everyone including children. So the forest department is trying to increase the number of butterflies to make the tourism industry of the state more attractive".

According to wildlife and environment experts, butterflies are deemed to be the indicators of a good ecological balance and healthy nature.

According to sources in Tripura Forest Department, "There are ample scope of promoting butterflies as a tourist attraction in Tripura. The state, which has its own variety of vegetation... shelters more than 250 species of butterflies. All these butterflies have their own specific character and give the spectator an unforgettable experience".

Meanwhile, in its endeavour to promote butterfly, Tripura Forest Department declared "Common Birdwing" as the state Butterfly recently and took some steps to promote the pristine insect as a tool to attract tourists.

It is also possible to earn a large amount of foreign currency by exporting butterflies.

"As a butterfly gives an early warning of environmental disaster, it also plays a special role in protecting the natural environment. Climate change can be learned by observing the behaviour of butterflies.

"Butterflies are not only a subject of beauty or research, but also of economic importance. Commercially importing and exporting butterflies can generate millions of dollars in business each year. Between 20 and 30 million dollars worth of butterflies are traded worldwide each year", forest officials said.

Raising a note of concern, the minister said, "In recent times, the number of butterflies and their natural habitats are decreasing alarmingly due to global environmental pollution caused by humans and climate change. This is why they need to be preserved". PTI

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