SUBJECT :Butterflies fluttering their vibrant-coloured wings on a sunnyday have cheered almost every one of us. While most of us enjoy their occasional visits, some gather time to watch them and study them. Among such butterfly enthusiasts is Bharat Karki. 

By: ISABELLA GURUNG

Gangtok, June 25, 2020: Butterflies fluttering their vibrant-coloured wings on a sunny day have cheered almost every one of us. While most of us enjoy their occasional visits, some gather time to watch them and study them. Among such butterfly enthusiasts is Bharat Karki.

“I have always been fascinated by nature as I come from a village. During 2011-12, when I was in class 10, things got serious. I always thought that studying about butterflies would be interesting.I started my journey seriously with bird watching/birding, when I had to do a project on birds. I had photographed 20 birds from my village. Then I didn’t have a proper camera. After I joined my college, I got fully-fledged into lepidopterology,” said Bharat.

Born to parents Puspa Lall Karki and Saraswati Karki, the 23-year-old hails from Lingi village in South Sikkim. He is a final year B.Sc Zoology honours student at Namchi Government College.

So far, Karki has recorded over 250 species of butterflies. His recent discovery is a rare butterfly identified as Dusky Striped Ringlet (Ragadiacrisilda). The butterfly experts have confirmed it, he said.

Bharat informed that the particular butterfly was previously spotted in 2018 in North Sikkim and it was elusive till he spotted it again at Lingi.

Bharat has also contributed 50 of his findings to Butterfly of India, an online peer-reviewed resource devoted to Indian butterflies.

“Twenty-five of my findings can be searched on Google. I am waiting for the next 25 to be verified by Butterfly of India,” said Karki, who spends 3-4 hours a day watching and photographing butterflies.

“Lingi village is rich in forest and so we have access to a variety of butterfly species. All of my findings have been based in South Sikkim, as I want to focus on my area itself. Later, I may expand to other districts. During my college days, I watch butterflies only in weekends, but as we have a holiday due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I have been able to dedicate more time to butterflies,” expressed Bharat.

Bharat said the best time to sight butterflies is during morning hours when the butterflies are out in search of food. “On a sunny day, butterflies are usually in business during the mornings, at around 9-10 am, when they are out in search of food. I start from home at around 8 am, and I reach the spot by that time. When they are eating, they don’t usually fly away. That’s the time to photograph them.”

During the lockdown itself, Karki has discovered 80-90 butterfly species.

“I have plenty of time right now and so I am making the most out of it. When I am lucky, I get three-four species a day.” He added.

He wants to pursue Masters in wildlife and later take lepidopterology as a profession.


Source: Sikkim Express