A park with a difference | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 27, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 27, 2011

Butterfly Park

A park with a difference

Butterflies (left) search for nectar in a flower at Butterfly Safari Park at No. 15 Ghat area of Karnaphuli river, adjacent to Shah Amanat International Airport in the port city of Chittagong. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das

Rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam in one of his melodious songs asked butterflies from where they got their colourful wings. These colourful insects, hovering over one flower after another, once a very common sight, are now very rare in the city as urbanisation destroys greenery, the habitat of such beautiful creatures like the butterfly.
The butterflies that left the city once in the face of urban encroachment have now come back, to the Butterfly Park.
Chittagong city runs short of entertainment places for its dwellers. There are only two parks owned and managed by Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) where the visitors have access without entry fee.
The Butterfly Park, one of the four privately owned parks, attracts the city dwellers for its exceptionality and unique scenic beauty.
"The park is the only sanctuary for the butterflies in the country", said AKM Moinuddin Sagar, project director, also in-charge of the park.
The park started its journey on Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla newyear, in the No. 15 Ghat area of the river Karnaphuli adjacent to the Shah Amanat International Airport on an area of six acres.
"It remains open from 9.00am to 11.00pm but the ideal time for enjoying the flying butterflies is from 9.00am to 3.00pm on a sunny day", said Sagar, adding that the butterflies come out in search of food on a sunny environment as the insects are of cold blood.
Riya, a six-year-old child, who came to the park along with her parents, looked very happy to see a large number of butterflies. She was taking pictures and trying to chase the flying butterflies in the “Live Butterfly Zone” of the park.
Her mother Suchitra Bishwas said the park has enthralled not only her daughter but also her husband and herself. She thanked the park authorities for making such a unique park in the port city.
Dr Shafiq Haider Chowdhury, a consultant of the project, said he has been researching on butterflies for the last 20 years and it's his long cherished dream to preserve a place where different species of butterflies would be roaming without fear.
He said his dream came true when the Intraco Group had come forward to start this park. He said there are 200 species of butterflies in Bangladesh and he was trying to collect the flying insects of all species. “At present there are about 23 species of butterflies in the park,” Dr Shafiq said.
"There is a museum of butterflies in the park where mummies of 57 species of butterflies are kept", said Dr Shafiq, adding that their breeding period is from late March to early September. He said usually the lifetime of a butterfly is three to four months while an American species of butterfly named “Monarch” lives up to 10 months.
"There are also about 500 plants and trees in the park", Sagar said, adding that these were planted for creating a safe haven for the butterflies. He said there are also an artificial lake, a restaurant, a party hall and a resort in the park.
Monwara Hakim Ali, vice-chairman of Intraco Group, said, "There are butterfly parks in many countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. I have been there and saw a lot of visitors both locals and foreigners”, she said, adding that they have made the park to create an environment-friendly recreation centres in the country.
“We want to brand Chittagong and that's why we have engaged the local consultants and availed the resources of Chittagong,” she said.
Monwara said, “We have made a resort for the visitors from home and abroad”.
Sagar said the park is a pioneer in the Saarc region where children can get both amusement and lessons.
Dr Shafiq said his aim is to collect different species of butterflies as much as possible and create breeding ground for them and release them in nature.

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