Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Purple Milkweed Butterflies of Taiwan

Is my first visit to Taiwan to witness the great migration of milkweed butterfly and I’m certain that this will not be my last. Taiwan is among the only two known country where mass migration of butterflies overwinter is observed.

Like the winter swarming monarch butterflies in Mexico, purple milkweed butterflies in Taiwan arrive in large groups every winter, gathering in some 30 "purple butterfly valleys" of Kaohsiung, Pingtung, and Taitung and will travel north during spring when the temperature is warmer.
I visited Yunlin County’s Linnei (林內) Township on 5th April joining the celebrations for the migration of purple milkweed butterflies from the south of the island to the north. Pingding Village in Linnei is one of the best-known rest stops along the butterflies’ biannual migration route in the spring and late fall. After Linnei, the butterflies fly over National Freeway No. 3 on their way to breeding grounds in the north. Linnei is considered the best place to view the dazzling display of milkweed butterflies.
[protective net to guide the butterflies to fly above traffic]
[cherry picker is used to observe & monitor the butterflies too]

A series of protective measures include a driving speed limit of 60 kilometers per hour (37 mph), blocking a two-mile stretch of the road when butterfly numbers exceed 500 per minute, and a 13-foot-high protective net guiding the butterflies to fly above traffic are in place to reduce the number of butterflies being killed on the highways.

The volunteers for the research project which involve catch and release are there too. Catch & release of butterflies is necessary to better understand the migration includes the pattern, the route, etc. Few stations have been set up and butterflies caught are tag, record & release at each station.

[one of the volunteer at the monitoring station]
[net with long pole is used to catch the butterflies][butterfly is remove from net carefully for id & tagging][butterfly is measure, tag, record & release][signs are every where along the migration route]

I wish to Thank Mr. Tsai Tin Ling (蔡汀霖) (Secretary, Linnei Township Office, Yunlin County) and his team for their time in sharing the valuable knowledge of this lovely butterfly and personally guide us on the route of the migration. Mr. Tsai and his team has been actively involve in promoting eco tourism, ways to identify the butterfly, correct way to help the butterfly safely completed their migration, etc. His contributions surely helps in maintaining the sustainability of the purple milkweed butterfly.
Not forgetting Anson who has been ‘tortured’ by us to wake up early, sleep late at night, follow us to all the out of normal tourist route. Thank you!

[Linnei Township Office]

[a glimse at the Linnei town]
[Mr Tsai, 2nd from right][Mr Tsai, right no 1][Thanks to Mr Tsai for this lovely souveniors for the celebrations]

Let's look at the beautiful butterflies that fascinated visitors from around the world.




非常感谢蔡汀霖先生 (雲林縣林內鄉公所秘书) 和我们分享这么多有关于紫斑蝶的知识和亲自带的领我们参观紫斑蝶的迁移的路线。使我们对于紫斑蝶又有了更深一层的了解!蔡先生 对于紫斑蝶有着非常大的贡献,各种各样的庆祝活动如促进生态旅游,如何辨认紫斑蝶有助于人们对紫斑蝶的认识并大大的提高了紫斑蝶的生存率。


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