Guwahati: A Rapid Action Project(RAP), a first of its kind in the north east, has been initiated to document different species of butterflies by the Wildlife Trust of India in Nagaland.
The project has been launched around Doyang Reservoir under Sungro Range in the state as it boasts of a high concentration of different species of butterflies, a WTI spokesman said here.
The RAP will focus on sensitizing locals on butterflies that inhabit the Doyang Reservoir and urge them to protect and conserve them.
A local expert W Oponthung Jami will carry out the project, launched in association with Charities Aid Foundation, as initiatives to document the various species of butterflies found there are a great resource for those trying to understand the area and its rich biodiversity, he said.
Jami said the number of butterflies are witnessing a drastic drop owing to increasing anthropogenic activities in their natural habitats and their dwindling numbers could create a huge imbalance in the ecosystem which would be difficult to reverse, he said.
"The role that insects, especially butterflies, play in the eco-system hardly comes into the limelight. It is high time, the concerned stakeholders should initiate protection and conservation measures to sustain their population in the area," he said.
Direct involvement of people in conservation activities ensure that they become stakeholders in protecting flora and fauna of the area, Jami said.
RAP is involved in photo-identification of different species of butterflies so that the actual number of various species can be documented, he added.
Jami said awareness campaigns targeting students were initiated for conservation of wildlife and their habitat.
Famous as the Amur falcon capital of India, the area around Doyang Reservoir also has a substantial number of elephants which makes the exercise even more crucial.
Butterflies are bio-indicators and a study to document them was crucial to assess the habitat and understand their interrelationship with the surrounding environment, he said.
Jami said an awareness campaign that focused on butterfly conservation near Pangti village in Wokha district was initiated by directly engaging the young.
Awareness camp was also held with the National Cadet Corps with nearly 50 NCC cadets from Government High School, Sungro, from the fringe villages of the Reservoir.
An awareness camp was also held for a small help group from Aasha Village in November 2014 wherein conservation of butterflies and related species were discussed in great detail.
An awareness campaign was conducted with SHGs on conservation and documentation of butterflies in Doyang, he said.
Such awareness campaigns, Jami said, ensure round the year protection to these sites and not only during the months when Amur falcons come here to roost.
"One of the very first interactions children may have with wild animals in life is with butterflies, which is why we ensured that this project involved creating awareness amongst children," Head of Wild Aid, an NGO working on conservation of wildlife in the north east, Radhika Bhagat said.
It is up to adults to instill wonder, curiosity and respect among children for wildlife so they understand how intrinsically everyone is linked together in nature, she added.