We promote establishment of butterfly conservatories in urban areas as well as in adjacent to protected areas in and around the state of West Bengal and in India, as a tool for bottom-up conservation model. Creating a habitat for butterflies not only aids in creation of a reservoir of well accepted group of plants but also attracts several insect species, reptiles, amphibians, birds and even few lesser mammals. Our aim is to spread awareness about the importance of butterflies and its conservation among urban people as well as among rural and forest-fringe villagers. We also establish open-air butterfly conservatories in various schools and college premises and involve students in this conservation activity. We also train local, economically backward communities in laboratory work and recruit them as staff in our conservatories. Our mission is to create an uninterrupted butterfly corridor and we wish for everyone’s support in this effort. We strongly believe in our mantra, ‘Save Butterflies to Save the Tigers”.
Banabitan Butterfly Conservatory
Banabitan Butterfly Conservatory was the first open-air butterfly conservatory in India with a full laboratory support. Located inside the Banabitan Biodiversity Park amidst of the bustling city of Kolkata, this garden provides our visitors with tiny slice of nature. This conservatory has been up and running since 2010 and boasts around 100 species. Lifecycle Study of around 60 species out of that 100 species has been completed so far. The conservatory has become very popular among nature enthusiasts across the years and is often among their top places to visit. The idea of creating Butterfly Garden with a lab support was established from this effort of Nature Mates, became very popular pan India.
Eco Park Butterfly Garden
Eco Park located in Rajarhat, New Town attracts a ton of visitors, many of whom make the long journey to the city’s end to spend some quality time in our Butterfly Garden. Eco Park Butterfly Garden was set up in 2015 across a 3-acre area with funding from WBHIDCO. It not only has a full laboratory support but also a dome enclosure where the visitors are taken on a tour of all butterflies. Over the last 5 years, more than 100 species have visited our garden and lifecycle of more than 60 of those species is complete. A team of five members along with active volunteers dedicate their time in this garden to conserve butterflies and spread awareness among visitors. One can also participate in butterfly release event during his trip to the dome, which can undoubtedly be a memorable experience. We also host various educational tours curated for different age groups.
Rajabhatkhawa Butterfly Conservatory
Just in the vicinity of pristine forest of Buxa Tiger Reserve and near the Rajabhatkhawa railway station, lies the Rajabhatkhawa Butterfly Conservatory. It covers a huge area of more than 7 acres and houses a large number of different species of butterflies, many of which are charismatic and rare. The conservatory started its journey in late 2018 with a proper laboratory support from the forest department and has already welcomed more than 100 species of butterflies as well as completed the life cycle of 50 species. With each passing day, this place is gradually becoming a spot of attraction for tourists, nature enthusiasts and students.
Kulik Butterfly Conservatory
Kulik Butterfly Conservatory is situated near the main entrance of Kulik Bird Sanctuary. The land which was chosen by the forest department for establishing this conservatory happened to be a barren land but now you can see myriad butterfly species fluttering there. The conservatory is successfully running with a laboratory set up since the beginning of 2019 and has already attracted more than 60 species of butterflies. If you are a nature lover, be sure to stop by and spend some quality time there and our lab assistant will be happy to guide you around.
Ramsai Butterfly Conservatory
A magical fact about Gorumara National Park is that it harbours around 350 species of butterflies. While visiting Gorumara, if you wish to witness the life cycles of some of such resident species, you can step into Ramsai Butterfly Conservatory. This conservatory was established in the year 2013 in collaboration with the forest department and since then it is continuing its journey for the conservation of butterflies. The conservatory is maintained by a 4 member team who guide the visitors inside the conservatory. We have already recorded more than 100 species of butterflies in the conservatory among which life cycle of more than 55 butterflies has been completed. This conservatory is already popular among the tourists and excursion groups and the best part is while visiting, one can participate in butterfly release event, the memory of which can be cherished forever.
Jhargram Butterfly COnservatory
Jhargram Butterfly Conservatory is situated inside Jhargram Ecopark. The project was initiated in 2020 by the Forest Department and subsequent plantation was carried out. The conservatory is in its nascent stage and has immense potential because of its unique location. We are really looking forward to work more in this landscape and unlocking its mysteries.
Eden Gardens Butterfly Garden
In 2012, Nature Mates and forest department started their second venture at Eden Gardens. Eden Gardens has a much smaller visitor footfall compared to Saltlake Banabitan for which the project was developed in a small scale. Eden Gardens is one of the oldest gardens in Kolkata and is situated very close to the river Ganges. The soil profile of Eden Gardens allows for a variety of plant growth which ensures it to be a suitable habitat for multiple species of butterflies. This small-scale initiative because of those factors turned out as a very successful project. Many rare butterflies started showing up here.
Garpanchakot Butterfly Garden
Garpanchakot is a very popular destination for tourist in the district of Purulia, West Bengal. The area falls under the lap of Panchakot Hills and is a reservoir of various biodiversity. In 2005, in association of West Bengal Forest Development Corporation, Nature Mates created their first open air Butterfly Garden. In 2005, creation of Butterfly Garden was an absolute new idea in entire India. With limited knowledge and tremendous passion we created this garden, which still exists with glory. Though this garden does not have regular funding and care, because of the richness of the surrounding habitat, it still attracts more than 100 species of butterflies.
Butterfly Garden at St. Paul's Cathedral Mission College, Kolkata
Involving the youth in nature and wildlife conservation initiatives have always been a prime target of Nature Mates. St. Paul's Cathedral Mission College, Kolkata, invited us to be a part of the advisory committee of their ECO-CLUB. As an initiative undertaken by the club a butterfly garden was developed in the college premises. Nature Mates has been assigned with the task of creation and maintenance of the Butterfly Garden and from the initial days in 2019, the garden has now developed into a refuge for the local biodiversity. The entire preparatory stage and further proceedings are being carried out under the supervision of the members of the ECO-CLUB and the experts of Team Nature Mates.
Scientific intervention, based on field knowledge can change an area into a habitat for birds. Pakhibitan, of Eco Park is one such initiative which is maintained by Nature Mates, where we aspire to enhance the quality of habitat for birds to thrive comfortably.
Rajarhat Wetlands has always attracted birders from afar due to presence of several migratory as well as resident species. 197 species of birds have been recorded from this landscape so far.
Due to speedy urbanization and rapid reduction of this patch, a large number of those species will face the risk of habitat loss. This led to the idea of Pakhibitan in Eco Park, where a small undisturbed patch were converted into a bird habitat.
This new habitat for birds had become a great awareness point, where we guide the park visitors about various aspects of this wonderful life form, their need and their importance.
This project in collaboration with WBHIDCO is one of the most important futuristic approach towards conservation measures for avifauna within a congested urban landscape.
Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project
Revival Initiatives of Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project - 2014
Nature Mates-Nature Club in association with Directorate of Forest, Government of West Bengal worked as an advisor for the betterment and scientific up keeping of Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project in South 24 Parganas Division. We conducted regular trainings for frontline staff and a joint training with TSA-India for frontline staff at the project area on captive husbandry of saltwater crocodiles between December 2013 and July 2018. Nature Mates also provided consultancy to the project from December 2013 to June 2015. During this time the staffs were made aware of modern methods to upkeep and husbandry procedures/protocols. One of the major issues which were attended was to increase the egg to hatchling ratio which had gone down significantly in past years and also adhered to the problem of increased mortality rates in hatchlings. Modern techniques of keeping count of crocodiles, tagging methods for release and monitoring etc. were also incorporated through regular trainings. On awareness front for general people Nature Mates provided help to WBFD in putting up awareness hoardings with info graphics in the project area to enrich visitors about crocodiles and their behavior in general. Various local school students were also included in such awareness campaigns which were conducted in the project area during this period in association with South 24 Parganas Division.