Starting a Butterfly Sanctuary
Starting a new butterfly farm?
To start developing a new ‘butterfly farm’ or ‘Sanctuary’ costs money and the need of expert information on butterfly species, breeding techniques of various butterfly species and their individual needs, plants for laying and other plants that each individual species will require to get its sustenance, such as nectar’s, salts and minerals to survive. A book by the author E. Whiteley ‘Farming with Butterflies’, published in 2006, comes highly recommended. The research and breeding of butterflies is perfected, providing detailed information about the butterfly’s life cycles, symbiotic relationships with spiders, ants and aphids. Much detail is given to the correct procedures in planting ones host plants with the correct ground substances, to emulate the original colonies of the plant’s environment, encouraging butterflies to build colonies through propagation of their own species in localized areas. Creating suitable environments similar to the habitats of various moth and butterfly species is essential and important for any butterfly species to adopt as the place in which it will propagate a new colony.
What’s the process?
The first thing to do is to establish the feasibility for starting a ‘butterfly farm’ or ’sanctuary’. Your local Municipality should have an environmental officer, who should be able to guide you in the right direction. If you have farm land or agricultural land available to you, then you would have to approach your local Traditional Council who will assist you in this regard. The next step is to identify all your indigenous vegetation from your alien vegetation. From this a detailed list of butterfly and moth species can be obtained for your local area. Then you contact a butterfly consultant, who will provide you with expert information of what you can or cannot do. This consultant will provide you with all the necessary documentation and bring your project to completion. A copy of butterfly/moth or host plant lists costs R 50.00 per list.
A course is necessary to qualify you for the start of a ‘butterfly farm’ or ‘sanctuary’. Without this course, no support can be obtained from SABBA whatsoever.
Is it profitable?
Having a ‘butterfly farm’ or ‘sanctuary’ on a piece of land, with a tea garden and a small craft shop is a very lucrative business proposition. Entrance fees can be charged from as little as R40.00 to R75.00, depending on the variety of species you have available. Use a good name for the venture and depend on information provided to customers, preferably through a trained tour guide. The standard and accessibility of the site is vital to your visitors. Photographers and ‘butterfly enthusiasts’ are the first of your customers, followed by the intrigued public. Don’t forget advertising. On request, other ‘butterfly farms’ or ‘sanctuaries’ can be linked to this website to enhance your publicity.