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What is the National Butterfly of Bhutan?

Ludlow's Bhutan Glory (Ludlowii bhutanitis) to be designated as the national Butterfly

What is the National Butterfly of Bhutan? We do not have one yet. But we may have one soon. The rediscovered Ludlow’s Bhutan Swallowtail (Bhutanitis ludlowi) may become the national butterfly of Bhutan.

"The research and the filming of this project will be carried out in partnership"

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed this morning between Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS) under Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) and Japanese researchers and film crew from NHK and The Butterfly Society of Japan will take up comprehensive research and filming on Bhutan’s Butterflies with special emphasis on Ludlow’s Bhutan Swallowtail. The research and the filming of this project will be carried out in partnership with Wildlife Conservation Division (WCD) and Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) as the national counterpart.

“While we’ve intact environment, we’re equally concerned about how to maintain it”

Chairing the MoU signing ceremony, Director of DoFPS, Mr. Karma Dukpa after the short brief about the MoU by Chief Forestry Officer, WCD said, “While we’ve intact environment, we’re equally concerned about how to maintain it.” He added that research and filming to be executed by experts from Japan will help a lot in conserving important wildlife resources of Bhutan. He also stressed on the need to share the outputs and results of the project.

"...will also introduce the rich nature of Bhutan to the outside world through broadcasting in the NHK Japan National Television"

Before formally signing the MoU, a presentation on the plans and programs was made by Mr. Saito Motoki, Team leader, NHK who unveiled that very little has been done when it comes to butterfly research in Bhutan. The presentation pointed out the novelty of the project that it will not only carryout research and filming of the mysterious butterfly of Bhutan but will also introduce the rich nature of Bhutan to the outside world through broadcasting in the NHK Japan National Television.

"The Butterfly was first discovered in British India era in 1933-1934 by British plant hunters Frank Ludlow and George Sheriff"

Bhutan is the host to this rare and beautiful butterfly Bhutanitis ludlowi which is found in Trashi Yangtsi valley in eastern Bhutan. The distribution of the species is very limited and is recorded only in Bhutan. The Butterfly with beautiful motifs on the wing was first discovered in British India era in 1933-1934 by British plant hunters Frank Ludlow and George Sheriff. From the presentation excerpt, “Extremely rare and endemic to Bhutan,” it fulfils most of the criteria required to be recognized as the national significance. Known to thrive in altitude range of 1600–1800 masl, Ludlow’s Bhutan Swallowtail was rediscovered in spring of 2009 by Mr. Karma Wangdi a forester from Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary and who is currently posted in UWICE. IUCN Red data book also mentioned the Butterfly as data deficit and listed under the category of vulnerable.

"Ludlow’s Bhutan Swallowtail was rediscovered in spring of 2009"

The presentation also outlined the potential of setting up Bhutan Butterfly garden which will attract tourist and serve to professionals and researchers besides special mention of Japanese gratitude to Royal Government of Bhutan for offering 1000 butter lamps as part of condolences during the recent natural disaster in Japan.

The ceremony ended with formal signing of 10 clause Memorandum of Understanding by Director, DoFPS and Mr. Motohiro Harada, Trustee on behalf of the Butterfly Society of Japan and Mr. Saito Motoki, on behalf of NHK, Japan.

Later in the afternoon, the Japanese team made a courtesy call on the Hon’ble Lyonpo where Hon’ble Lyonpo stated that the current documentary film on the butterfly should be especially dedicated to the affected People of Japan by the recent tsunami and earthquake showing solidarity and goodwill from Bhutan Government. Hon’ble Lyonpo also stated that Bhutan and Japan will look into the possibility of Bhutanese farmers inviting farmers of Fukushima where the land has become uncultivable due to nuclear radiation for Soba (Buckwheat) cultivation.


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