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Butterfly Sanctuary

February 05, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 147

It was a bright day, the heat was not too strong in December and there was a light winter breeze in the tropics. The remaining clouds from a short tropical shower had dispersed and given way to a clear blue sky.

With the promising weather we decided to visit one of the several tourist attractions in the city; a 1000 acre of stepped terrain garden, landscaped with the different species of plants, primarily large leafy vegetation, tall trees and smaller shrubs making thick undergrowth, centrally located, within the precincts of KL's city centre. This is one of a few butterfly sanctuaries around the world. Commonly known as the butterfly park, the sanctuary is an intriguing place for naturalists and botanists. It is essentially a botanical garden for rare species of butterfly and insects endemic to a tropical habitat. The most striking feature of this species is their size rather than the colour or pattern on their wings. In certain cases the wing span can range the size of a hand span. The entire garden is covered with a fine net and foliage growth to attract the butterflies.

This species of butterfly feeds off large dark green leaves and succulent shoots. There were few vines with flowers, but it was the dark green vegetation that attracted the insects. Walking down the steps into the midst of the garden, the visitors find themselves surrounded by butterflies and has to take careful steps to avoid injuring those butterflies resting or feeding close to the paved paths. This is a species of butterfly endemic to SE Asia. The mammoth butterfly has a wing span of approximately 20cm. It is four times as large as an ordinary butterfly. It is not only their size that makes these insects amazing, their vibrant colours set them apart from ordinary butterflies too. Surprisingly, we did not encounter any chrysalises in the garden apart from those in the exhibit, although they may a have been hidden from view under the thick growth.

Walking around the garden and down a stepped slope, we came across a short waterfall, which accumulated at the bottom of a pond in which giant box turtles swam with the water splashing on their shells. These turtles are a pre-historic size and can easily carry a toddler on their backs. The entire promenade along the park can easily take up three quarters off an hour, enough time for a keen botanist to take an avid interest in scrutinising the species of butterflies and other insects that are protected by this reserve. The Library at the gardens is well stocked with butterfly charts, categorising the species according to an accepted scientific standard.

At the aquariums inside the library, we came across the venomous black scorpions and water scorpions. The sign guarding the aquariums strictly forbade visitors to try to open the glass boxes at the top or pry into them. As we exited the park, to keep a memorable visit, the children kept a few of the hasty notes they had made as we traversed past some of the most intriguing insects that they would rarely encounter. Perfectly camouflaged by their surroundings, the stick insect is difficult to distinguish from the branch it is clinging to in shape and colour. Another surprise is the leaf butterfly or leaf insect that looks like a leaf moving in a light breeze until it flaps its wings and flies off the twig to rest on another stalk. The crested lizard is difficult to spot amongst the twigs and leaves that surround it, given away only by its distinguishing crest; and the praying mantis a restless insect. A short walk around the park took half an hour of surprise encounters where, taking advantage of no restrictions on photographs, we took a few photographs of some of the insects and lizards we came across.

at the butterfly sanctuary, Kuala Lumpur

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Butterfly Sanctuary


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