Butterfly sanctuary: warming Lahore’s heart

Two elaborate butterfly houses have been built in Lahore within the last four years that house hundreds of butterflies for visitors to interact with.

Here, butterflies flaunt their beauty to capture the attention of visiting children and adults alike. Several types of butterflies are bred and raised in the facilities, whereas captured butterflies are also released inside the green retreat.

Butterflie are the only cold blooded beings that warm hearts of people infinitely. It is barely realised how fast these butterflies, the metaphor of beauty, the instiller of romance and aesthetic splendor, are disappearing from the environment.

Officials say it would take years for the butterflies inside these houses to grow so much in number that the authorities may be forced to release some in open air.

Crucial to the fertilization process of plants, these short lived insects serve more purposes than pleasing the eyes of people. Their average life span is about one month, some may even live up to a day.

Now that some species are considered extremely vulnerable in the context of growing urbanisation and diminishing green cover, Punjab government set up the butterfly houses in Jallo park and Johar Town to facilitate butterfly breeding and research.

In summers, around 10 different types of butterflies reside in these houses including Little Yellow, Plain Tiger, Mormon, White angled Sulphur, Peacock Pansy, Painted Lady and Common Castor.

Butterfly House in-charge Nazneen Sehar explained that different types of butterflies are found in Pakistan during different seasons, though some types appear throughout the year too.

“Special arrangements are required to keep the butterflies alive in summer. A special fibre tunnel has been installed inside the botanical garden that maintains a conducive temperature of 35°C for butterflies,” she said.

A separate breeding area has been built to provide necessary environment for multiplication of 10 types of butterflies. “Breeding them is not easy. Host plants are grown at various places to accommodate them as well as provide food for their nourishment.”

Butterfly breeding in Pakistan is still in experimental stages. Nevertheless, when around 150 butterflies are released inside the breeding area they rapidly grow into thousands within two weeks.