Moodbidri: Sammilan Gives Wings to his Dreams with Butterfly Park
Daijiworld Media Network - Moodbidri
Moodbidri, Jun 11: Imagine a park brimming with colourful butterflies, of all shapes, sizes and varieties. Sounds like a scene out of a dream, but Sammilan Shetty has realized that dream into reality.
Sammilan Shetty, son of the late Sadashiva A Shetty and Manimala Shetty, has developed a park at Belvai in Moodbidri where he grows and conserves a variety of butterflies.
Born on May 23, 1985 in a village named Belvai in Moodbidri, he did his schooling at Rotary English Medium School, Moodbidri and then studied at Sri Bhuvanendra College, Karkala. He later joined Alva’s College and passed his BSc in Microbiology and BSc HS from Moti Mahal College and is presently working as a lecturer at Laxmi Memorial College of Hotel Management, Mangalore. He is also pursuing his MBA in tourism as a correspondent student.
While he was pursuing his undergraduation, his zoology teacher, Ashok C H, HOD, zoology department, Alva’s College, asked him to prepare a project on local butterflies. This project in turn infused in Sammilan a deep and lasting love for butterflies. Hailing from a village, and having spent his childhood playing in the nearby forest areas and paddy field, he had a special bond with nature.
He converted his interest in butterflies into a hobby, which ultimately became his passion. He had vast ancestral land of nearly 7.5 acres, where he decided to start his butterfly park. In the beginning, he identified the host plants in the 3.5 acres of secondary forest land, which would support the larval stage of butterflies. Three acres were used to grow nectar plants that support the growth and dwelling of adult butterflies. In the remaining 1 acre host plants were introduced, says Sammilan.
Butterflies usually consume nectar from flowers, rotten fruit liquids, minerals from wet muddy patches, alkaloids from Crotolaria sp, other alkaloid rich plants, dead organisms, bird droppings, cow dung and human sweat, he says.
Sammilan has a collection of more than 100 species, which is still growing. He has also different varieties of common, rare and very importantly, the endemic species of butterflies. Some of species are Great Evening Brown, Clipper, Red Spot Duke, Large Oak Blue, Redspot, Banded Blue Pierrot, Paris Peacock, Malabar Banded Peacock, Southern Birdwing, Common Mormon, Commander, Common Pierrot, Common Lascar, Grey Count and many more.
India has about 12 butterfly parks and has more than 1,600 species of butterflies. Karnataka has two other butterfly parks, at Bannerghatta in Bangalore and Karanji Butterfly Park in Mysore. The park what Sammilan has created is an open one, similar to the one in Mysore. Bangalore Park is a closed one.
On the gradual disappearance of some species of butterflies, he says some of the major reasons are destruction of habitats, use of pesticides and weedicides which destroy the larva and host plants, grazing and poaching of butterflies which fetch high price in illegal markets.
He wishes to make his park the world's best and most beautiful butterfly park. "I thank my parents, relatives, friends and butterfly experts from all over India who have been supporting, guiding and advising me in all his ways," he humbly says.
"I have been getting good response from the public and I am planning to open this park for public in a year. This park would focus on conservation and aim to create awareness among the people about the extinction of species of butterflies which in turn creates an imbalance in the food chain and also affects the population of butterfly pollinated plants," Sammilan says.