The Paintbrush Swift butterfly, a rare species in the western Himalayas, has been sighted and documented for the first time in Himachal Pradesh’s Chamba district. This significant discovery was made during a field survey conducted as part of the Wild Bhattiyat Project initiated by the Bhattiyat Forest Range in 2022.
- Paintbrush Swift Butterfly (Baoris farri):
- Belongs to the Hesperiidae family.
- First photographed in Himachal Pradesh, 145 years after its discovery in the eastern Himalayas.
- Identified by two separated spots in the upper forewing cell.
- Larvae feed on bamboo and other grass species.
- Habitat primarily found in northeast, central, and south India, and rare in Uttarakhand.
- Conservation Efforts:
- The discovery highlights the need for habitat conservation and protection.
- Urgent conservation measures are required, including the establishment of butterfly parks, conservation reserves, and butterfly rearing centers.
- Emphasis should be placed on planting native host plant species and improving butterfly habitats.
- Raising awareness about the importance of butterflies through community participation is essential for their conservation.
The Paintbrush Swift’s sighting in Himachal Pradesh is a positive sign of flourishing biodiversity in the region. However, it also underscores the challenges butterflies face due to habitat loss, scarcity of larval host plants, increased pesticide use, deforestation, and climate change.
The species is legally protected in India under Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Conservationists and butterfly enthusiasts are encouraged by this discovery and are working towards ensuring the survival of this beautiful and rare butterfly species.