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Jewel of Himalayas: Behali's rare butterflies

Once known as the Behali Reserve Forest, this thriving paradise boasts a staggering variety of life forms, but it is particularly renowned for its dazzling butterfly population – a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns flitting through the lush foliage.

News Arena Network - Guwahati - UPDATED: June 10, 2024, 04:39 AM - 4 mins read

(Clockwise from top left) A Birdwing butterfly, a Common Bluebottle Graphion Sarpedon, a Mandarin Blue, and an Azure Sapphire.

Jewel of Himalayas: Behali's rare butterflies

(Clockwise from top left) A Birdwing butterfly, a Common Bluebottle Graphion Sarpedon, a Mandarin Blue, and an Azure Sapphire.


Nestled amidst the verdant eastern foothills of the Himalayas lies the Behali Wildlife Sanctuary, a treasure trove of biodiversity recently declared a proposed sanctuary in May 2022.

 

Once known as the Behali Reserve Forest, this thriving paradise boasts a staggering variety of life forms, but it is particularly renowned for its dazzling butterfly population – a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns flitting through the lush foliage.

 

Researchers and naturalists have documented over 275 butterfly species within the sanctuary's boundaries, solidifying Behali's reputation as one of the most butterfly-rich regions on the planet.

 

This remarkable haven is home to some of the world's rarest and most captivating species, including the elusive Small Green Awlet (Burara amara) and Orange Awlet (Burara harisa), their wings shimmering like emeralds and sapphires in the dappled sunlight.

 

The tapestry of Behali's butterfly fauna is further enriched by the Brown Pied Flat (Coladenia agni) and Swinhoe's Flat (Celanorrhinus zea).

 

A true spectacle awaits those fortunate enough to glimpse the Green Striped Palmer (Pirdana major) with its mesmerising vivid green stripes, or the White Dragontail (Lamproptera curius), its delicate tails trailing gracefully behind it.

 

Disguised amongst the vibrant flutter is the Orange Oakleaf (Kallima inachus), India's national butterfly, renowned for its extraordinary camouflage.

 

With its wings closed, this butterfly transforms into an uncanny replica of a dry leaf, disappearing seamlessly into the forest floor. However, when it takes flight, a dazzling display of color erupts as the vivid orange of its upper wings unfolds.

 

Another captivating resident is the Golden Birdwing (Troides aeacus), the largest butterfly in India. Its impressive wingspan and shimmering gold hues make it a magnificent sight, a source of wonder for visitors and researchers alike.

 

The significance of the Behali Wildlife Sanctuary extends far beyond its mesmerising butterflies. As part of the Sonitpur-Kameng Elephant Reserve, it has been recognised by prestigious institutions like the Bombay Natural History Society and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as an Important Bird Area. Furthermore, its designation as a Key Biodiversity Area in 2014 highlights its critical role in the global ecological landscape.

 

Behali is a haven for over 52 species of mammals, 282 species of birds, and a plethora of reptiles and amphibians, making it a true biodiverse hotspot. It is one of the world's 30 designated biodiversity hotspots, highlighting the urgent need for robust conservation efforts.

 

As we delve into the wonders of Behali, it becomes clear that the sanctuary's rich tapestry of life thrives on a delicate balance. The lush forests and diverse species are not merely beautiful – they are ecologically vital.

 

Conservation initiatives are paramount to protecting this irreplaceable haven, ensuring that future generations can experience the magic of Behali's fluttering jewels and the myriad other creatures that call this vibrant ecosystem home.

 

The Behali Wildlife Sanctuary is more than just a verdant expanse; it is a living tapestry, a sanctuary where nature's artistry takes flight. 

 

Here, the delicate beauty of butterflies serves as a powerful reminder of our responsibility to protect and cherish our planet's precious natural heritage.

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