As reports of animals and birds uncommon to urban areas being spotted during the lockdown period briefly lifted up forlorn spirits across the world, the garden city too has witnessed a burst of colour from winged visitors in green oases that have had a reprieve from humans. Butterflies are being spotted in large numbers near lakes that have seen some improvement over the years, and in vast green spaces such as the Bannerghatta Biological Park.
Butterflies are thronging the rejuvenated Puttenahalli lake, much to the joy of residents. Usha Rajagopalan from the Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT) said the number of butterflies has been far more this year, probably due to the lake premises being closed off. In addition, planting a particular variety of weed appears to have paid off.
They are attracted to the Heliotropium indicum at the lake. We discovered this plant last year. Before we could get the seeds, they got submerged. We would have got it removed if we hadnt spotted the butterflies. This year, our gardeners were on the lookout and have planted them on the revetment. Our gardeners are watering and tending to these with great attention, she said.
The Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) too reported tremendous migration of butterflies in and around BBP for the first time in recent years. According to the parks entomologist, this is the migratory period of some species such as blue tiger, dark blue tiger, glossy blue tiger, striped tiger, double branded crow and common crow butterflies.
The parks Executive Director Vanashree Vipin Singh said butterflies were seen in the zoo, parking area and other green spaces as the park was closed to the public. Due to the lockdown, unprecedented numbers were seen. In addition to this, migration happens from the Eastern to the Western Ghats. We may witness this migration again during September-October, she said.
V. Ramprasad from Friends of Lakes said butterfly migration was happening in hoards in lakes such as Jakkur lake. Due to lack of human interference, the bird population has also increased in the vicinity. The biggest learning from COVID-19 has been of seeing how much recreational space should be given in a lake. A classic example is the Malathahalli lake with a concrete wall running for 6-odd km and a toy train, he pointed out.
DPRs are made keeping urban elitists in mind, not the life of butterflies and birds, and forget about livelihoods such as fishing, etc., he added. What we need now, he stressed, were ecological DPRs and reorganisation of technical committees with ecologists, environmental engineers, hydrogeologists, etc., and not just civil engineers.