Gazing Butterflies in Nepal

Nepal has been offering its visitors with a wide variety of products from mountains to the rivers to hills and the tarai. If promoted, butterfly watching can also be a potential product as an addition to the existing products Nepal has been offering to it’s visitors. And activities like these can also add up to the promotion of eco-tourism and the sustainable tourism as well and hopefully it can also add up to the UNWTO’s campaign of celebrating 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Develpment.

By Rajiv Joshi

The butterfly is one of the most beautiful creatures on earth. It has always charmed people with its delicateness and its gorgeously colored wings. Its sheer beauty has always inspired poets, artists, and photographers around the world.

Nepal can be called a paradise for butterfly lovers. It houses a notable account of butterflies found both in Oriental and Palaearctic realms. Official records show, Nepal has around 651 species of butterflies and constitutes 3.72% of the world’s butterfly population. Species of butterflies found in Nepal are categorized under 11 families of the 15 existing families in the world. Until the recent years, around 29 species and subspecies have been found widespread in Nepal.

Butterflies can be found at the altitude of 2700 meters above sea level to the maximum altitude of 5,500 meters in the Himalayas. Species of Butterflies like Parnassius acdestis (Sikkim Banded Apollo), Aglais ladakensis (Ladak Tortoise Shell) and Pontia Sherpae (Sherpa White) can be found in the higher altitude of the western Himalayan region of Nepal whereas Parnassius (Apollo) can be found above 2700 meter from eastern to the western Himalayan region.

The meeting point for both the Palaearctic and Oriental species is the middle Himalayan region. Some of the notable and rare species including Teinopalpus imperialis (Kaiser-E –Hind), Papilio krishna (Krishna Peacock) and the wide range of other attractive species can be found in this region.

From the notables to the rare ones, Kathmandu and its surrounding hills accommodate more than 360 species of butterflies. Teinopalpus imperialis, Papilio krishna, Diagora nicevillei and Troides aeacus are to name a few. The southern part of Kathmandu stretching from Godavari to the Phulchowki is considered to be one of the most potential habitat for butterflies.

Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park lying in the northern part of Kathmandu is the next hot spot for sighting the diversity of the butterflies. Studies reveal the existence of around 102 species of butterflies in this park alone. Rare species like Papilio krishna has been reportedly sighted at an elevation of 2,120 meters of Shivapuri Hills.

Nepal has been offering its visitors with a wide variety of products from mountains to the rivers to hills and the tarai. If promoted, butterfly watching can also be a potential product as an addition to the existing products Nepal has been offering to it’s visitors. And activities like these can also add up to the promotion of eco-tourism and the sustainable tourism as well and hopefully it can also add up to the UNWTO’s campaign of celebrating 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Develpment.

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