Wiki Loves Butterfly organized 5 photo-walks in 4 states in a single month

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Wiki Loves Butterfly (WLB), a digital conservation and field documentation project, is running for six consecutive years by a dedicated group of volunteers passionate about butterflies. Till now, WLB has documented 590 butterfly species and subspecies from different wildlife sanctuaries, tiger reserves, reserve forests, protected areas, butterfly parks and other places located in West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Sikkim, Nagaland and Odisha. A total of 8950 images have been uploaded by 25 WLB team members, among which 804 are selected as quality images, 209 as valued images and 15 as featured images, and this number is increasing on a regular basis.

Butterflies are the indicators of a healthy ecosystem. Not only are they effective pollinators, visiting flowers for nectar and mutually benefitting the plants but they also play a crucial part in the food chain providing themselves as a good source of protein for a variety of predators ranging from spiders to birds. To learn more about their world, their lifecycle, the host plants they feed on and ultimately leading to awareness and conservation of the butterflies and the wildlife as a whole, India celebrates Big Butterfly Month throughout the month of September each year. Events ranging from photowalks, workshops, butterfly observations and counts, seminars, quizzes to upload butterfly records on several biodiversity platforms and contribution to citizen science programs are being organized throughout the country by various wildlife and butterfly forums.

Like several other nature and wildlife forums, Wiki Loves Butterfly also celebrated the Big Butterfly Month 2023 and has successfully completed a series of butterfly photo walks, online discussion session and school outreach programme in the month of September.

The group photo of WLB photo-walk and school outreach programme 2023 at Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary situated in Lohit district, Arunachal Pradesh, India. (Aditya Das CC BY-SA 4.0)

The group photo of WLB photo-walk 2023 at Susunia Hill situated in Bankura district, West Bengal, India. (Anitava Roy CC BY-SA 4.0)

The first 2 photowalks took place at A.J.C Bose Indian Botanical Garden and Susunia hill of West Bengal. The 3rd photowalk was held on Bhumeswar Hill, Assam. The 4th and 5th photowalk and school outreach programme were conducted at Kamlang Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh and Dzongu Valley, Sikkim respectively. All the events were of great success with a good number of participants, except the 3rd photowalk which was heavily affected due to massive rain and many new participants failed to reach the event location.

The WLB photo-walks aim at

  • Good participation of comparatively newer butterfly enthusiasts increasing the prospect to recruit new contributors for Wikimedia.
  • Development of leadership quality among previous participants.
  • Filling the gender gap and ensuring leadership potential among female participants.
  • Mentoring of school students to spread awareness about effect of human activities on butterflies
  • Passing on the legacy of conservation to our next generation.

The graph shows the male and female participants in those events.

The group photo of female participants of WLB photo-walk 2023 at Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden situated in Howrah district, West Bengal, India. (Tapan Pramanik CC BY-SA 4.0)

We have succeeded in bringing out several press releases about the photowalks in some of the reputed daily newspapers of the concerned area that have helped trigger awareness among common people about butterflies and the necessity of their conservation, motto of digital conservation of and Wikimedia movement at large.

According to Steve Irwin, a famous Australian wildlife educator and conservationist, “We don’t own the planet Earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife”, and Wiki Loves Butterfly project holds these words very close to its heart.

Quick note: who are willing to organize the nature photo-walk can read the diff post.

Here some glimpse of photowalks

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