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Dilmah Conservation’s urban open-air Butterfly Garden is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. Since its construction in October 2011, it has provided a safe haven for a growing list of butterfly species. Currently 53 of the 247 species of butterflies observed in Sri Lanka have been sighted within the gardens.
Butterflies are picky egg-layers and exclusive in their host-plant choice. Their presence is often bound to a combination of preferred host and nectar plants. Dozens of plants were selected with the help of entomologists and botanists to attract a wide range of butterfly species to the gardens and provide them with a suitable breeding ground. Particular attention was paid to attracting threatened or endangered species.
Over the years the Dilmah Conservation butterfly garden, although relatively small (750m²), has attracted hundreds of butterflies and proved to be an excellent conservation tool. Since the butterfly garden is situated within an extremely urbanized landscape in Moratuwa, it has acted as critical refuge for not just butterflies but other insect, bird, and reptile species found in the region.
Following the success of the project, it became apparent that the preservation of these beautiful creatures can be easily pursued by anyone with an interest in doing so. If you would like to learn more about how you can build your own butterfly garden or schedule an educational visit to the Butterfly Garden, please contact a Dilmah Conservation team member.
The Dilmah Conservation butterfly garden is open to the public every Wednesday between 9:00 am and 4:30 pm. Special educational programmes are conducted for groups on other days upon request.
Please contact the Dilmah Conservation if you would like to schedule a visit to the butterfly garden, (located in the same premise as the Dilmah Conservation Sustainable Agriculture Research station.)
- Serve as a conservation and biodiversity education centre for school and university students
- Contribute to the beatification of the surrounding environment
- Run educational workshops for the public on the importance of butterflies and butterfly gardens
- Continue to maintain the butterfly-friendly trees and shrubs that were introduced during previous phases of the project to increase the survival of butterflies at the Moratuwa Centre
- A survey conducted in Feb 2018 identified 9 new species of butterfly within the butterfly garden:
Common Albatross (Appias albina), Three Spot Grass Yellow (Eurema blanda), Common Bushbrown (Mycalesis perseus), Tiny Grass Blue (Zizula hylax), Dark Grass Blue (Zizeeria karsandra), Plains Cupid (Chilades pandava), Gram Blue (Euchrysops cnejus), Indian Palm Bob (Suastus gremius), and Tricolor Pied Flat (Coladenia indrani).
- A total of 29 trays, consisting of 290 plants in a combination of larval food plants and nectar plants have been distributed through the Butterfly in a Basket programme among the MJF staff at LKR 200/- each.
- To encourage the general public to take part in butterfly conservation and to provide an accessible and comprehensive butterfly identification guide to enthusiasts, Dilmah Conservation also published ‘Common Butterflies of Sri Lanka’ – a field guide containing an overview of over 100 different species including a photo guide to plants that are preferred by specific species.
- Following the success of the Moratuwa garden, Dilmah Conservation facilitated the construction of butterfly gardens at Royal College, St. Thomas’ College, Lady Ridgeway Hospital, and Dilmah’s Cape Weligama Resort in Sri Lanka.
- Dilmah Conservation holds butterfly workshops, led by Mr. Himesh Jayasinghe, the author of DC’s butterfly publication and an expert on the subject, at the Moratuwa garden. These workshops are open to people of all ages.