Butterfly Enclave in Science City, Kolkata


Butterfly Par Science-City-Kolkata

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.  ~Richard Bach

Into Science City, Kolkata, alongside Space Theatre and Evolution Park, I followed a crowd of visitors and families into Dyna Motion, where I came upon several themed play and learning devices for children like: Crazy Ball, Chaotic Chair, the Infinite Well, Walk on Piano, See your voice, Nanolab, Floating Dish, Visualising Sound, Liquid Storm etc. Situated in the same space as these, was a glass enclosed enclave called “The Butterfly Enclave”. I was reminded of the quote above, while I peered through the glass and took in the beautiful sight of colorful wings amidst a garden full of a variety of host plants, flowers of varied shapes and sizes, and a tree.

Apt quote for an apt day and it filled my heart with wonder. This live butterfly-garden housed several species of colourful butterflies. Upon further investigation, I found out that colonies of live butterflies are regularly hatched here. To my surprise, only children below twelve are allowed to go inside the enclave. Others can look at the fleet of tiny wings from outside the enormous glass doors. Here children can learn about the life cycle of a butterfly, and it is a wonderful learning activity for children, and they do love it. Even the screening of a film Rang Bahari Prajapati on the life cycle of butterfly was done here.

To those of us who have forgotten, the life cycle of a butterfly is divided into four stages: the egg, the larva, the pupa and then the adult butterfly. And this enclave is a wonderful way of reminding us about this metamorphosis. Most of the butterflies I saw at the Enclave were white, black, brown or dark orange in colour; the others were either resting, or hiding behind shrubs and bushes, away from the curious eyes of their audience. Some of the names of the butterflies kept here are Common Mormon, Lime, Common rose, Plain Tiger, Whites, Tawny Costor, Blue Tiger, Common Crow, Emigrant, and Tiger.

 Butterfly EnclaveWhat the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. ~Richard Bach

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly. ~Richard Buckminster Fulle

However, a lot of work goes behind the scenes, towards the maintenance of the butterfly enclave. As specimens of butterflies are collected, their growth has to be taken care of. Therefore, close to the Butterfly Enclave, out in the open is a “Butterfly Nursery”; where butterflies are kept and hatched. Butterfly eggs from the enclave are taken to the butterfly nursery where they are fed with fresh leaves and plants. Some of the essential activities also include keeping food plants for the butterflies inside and outside the butterfly gardens. Certain other precautions include protecting the garden from winds, and spraying it with water, when required, and protecting the plants and the nursery from extreme conditions of sun and heat; protecting the larvae from ants and other predators, and cleaning the butterfly enclosure with regularity. The plants inside the butterfly garden need to be periodically replaced by plants from the butterfly nursery. The food plant nursery has to be maintained with proper organic fertiliser and manure. Proper care has to be taken to increase the growth of butterfly as it is almost compulsory to display around about eight hundred and fifty butterflies in the enclave.

Flower colours inside the enclave are also important, because butterflies have the ability to see a few colours. Butterflies are cold blooded creatures, so they need rocks – cool and flat surfaces on which they can rest. They need water because like humans they too drink water. Those who tend to this garden sure have a lot of work cut out for them. However, by the end of the day, the smiles on the faces of visitors make all the effort worth it.

The live butterfly garden at Science City Kolkata had all of the above and more. A garden resplendent with shrubs, leafy plants, ferns; amongst which, the butterflies seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Image Courtesy: public-domain-photos.com (Jon Sullivan)



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