Conservationists from across the Nilgiris came together on Saturday to establish a “butterfly park” with native grasses and shrubs in a reclaimed portion of a dumpyard in Coonoor.
The initiative, spearheaded by local NGO, ‘Clean Coonoor’ aims at introducing native flora to around an acre of what was previously a landfill site. The planting was done to coincide with World Environment Day on Saturday.
P.J. Vasanthan, Trustee of ‘Clean Coonoor’ said that the NGO, which runs the dumpyard with the assistance of the local municipality, was already maintaining a pollinator-friendly ornamental garden at the site. “The garden will provide food for butterflies and other pollinators, while the new section will have flora where the butterflies can breed,” said Mr. Vasanthan.
More than 200 plants were introduced to the site. The plants were supplied by Godwin Vasanth Bosco, a restoration ecologist and founder of ‘Upstream Ecology.’ The plants include Strobilanthes cuspidatus, a variety of native kurinji plants, Crotalaria verrucosa, which attracts butterflies, among others.
The butterfly park will initially be spread around 20 cents but will expand to over an acre in the coming months, said Samantha Iyanna, Managing Trustee of Clean Coonoor.
The Coonoor-based Wynter-Blyth Association, which documents butterfly species in the Western Ghats was also part of the initiative. Ms. Geetha Srinivasan, Convenor of INTACH, Nilgiris chapter, is also helping to fund the project.