Pisgal is a place in Curti, Ponda nestled in the foothills of Keri Hills, where resides Rohit Heblekars dream ‘The butterfly Conservatory of Goa’. The place is a small niche in the large expanse of the great Western Ghats. We friends, well-wishers and Butterfly lovers dream with him of having a world class butterfly conservatory put in place.
I received a email from Rohit announcing the ‘The breakfast with Butterflies ‘program with a aim to spread awareness of butterfly conservation amongst young school going children. The invitation came with a promise to show 25 species of butterflies, larvae, pupae and all. I liked the idea very much so I invited my friend Milind Tamhane his wife and daughter to attend the program.
On the Sunday morning of 11th oct 2009 we met at the appointed place at the conservatories would be reception centre. As this program was first of its kind, Rohit and his wife looked a little nervous , he said to me agitatedly ‘the last weeks untimely rain has ruined the lanterna flowers , which attracts the butterflies the most, with them gone how are we going to show 25 species as promised’ exclaimed Rohit.
After everybody was assembled Rohit gave an introductory speech about the aims, objectives and the benefits of the Butterfly Conservatory and the Role of local plants in sustaining butterfly population. Then he led the guests through the garden for the main program of butterfly watching. The first butterfly to make an appearance was Blue Mormon the majestic, and then came Red Helen the gorgeous, Malabar Banded Peacock the King, common Rose, the Palm fly, the Grey Count and more. The mood was set the Children were overjoyed. The little children mingling with the beautiful butterflies is a sight to behold.
An hour had passed Rohit was now a little relaxed seeing everything was going on as per plan. He approached me and asked me what was the count, I said 15 species I assured don’t worry I will see that we get to the target count of 25 species. With a renewed vigor I, Manoj and Rohit started searching for more. Then suddenly it started to happen Rohit shouted a Psyche is coming your way, then I spotted the Monkey puzzle, next to him was the Plum Judy then came two Angled Pierots , a Southern Birdwing, a Baron ,Niggers, Bush Browns, a Laskar and more Grey Counts.
The time was 11.30am and it was time to leave, Rohit called all the guest for a snack, debriefing and goodby . The species count was well past 25 it was 27 precisely and the total no of butterflies seen was 81. The event was a success thanks to Rohit and his family’s hard work.
So friends let us study and preserve this beautiful creation called butterfly and conserve its habitat so that butterflies and our future is safe for eternity.
JAGDISH KATKAR, firstname.lastname@example.org