Spread over three acres of lush greenery, the Maharashtra Nature Park in Mahim, once a municipal garbage dump, will soon become Mumbai’s first butterfly sanctuary, the brainchild of deputy director of the park Avinash Kubal.
“I have been working on the project for the last two years. I had to first create the right environment for breeding butterflies, which means cultivating plants like peepal, jamun, curry leaves, where they lay eggs,” said Kubal. These plants provide nourishment for the developing larvae.
The park would be opened next October with the opening of an exclusive study centre. “But the existing environment has already attracted 72 varieties of butterflies,” said Kubal. This in itself is amazing, as butterflies are very sensitive to pollution and their presence or absence are an indicator of air quality. Dr V Shubhalaxmi, centre manager of the Bombay Natural History Society, Goregaon, added, “India has 1,501 species of butterflies and even a polluted city like Mumbai is blessed with around 140 species. Compare this to England, which has just 60 species.”
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