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World Swallowtail Day – Focus on Cherishing and Conserving the World’s Most Beautiful Butterflies


World Swallowtail Day    Focus on Cherishing and Conserving the World’s Most Beautiful butterflies

 

By Amy Tsang

 

World Swallowtail Day will be held on 9th of June this year. Declared by the Swallowtail and Birdwing Butterfly Trust (SBBT) of the United Kingdom, which supports butterfly conservation programmes in the UK, the Carribbean, Southeast Asia and Australia, the SBBT seeks to call to attention that while swallowtails are the most spectacular and much-loved butterflies in the world, they are also some of the most threatened. It is hoped that World Swallowtail Day will spur all butterfly lovers and conservationists the world over to look into the conservation of their swallowtail populations.


In Singapore, we have a population of 18 swallowtail (papilionidae) species, of which four (4) are listed in The Singapore Red Data Book which tracks threatened plants and animals in our island state.  One of these threatened species is the Common Rose (Pachliopta aristolochiae asteris) which was voted the National Butterfly of Singapore back in 2015 by the general public. The other species at risk are the Common Birdwing (Troides Helena cerberus), the Common Jay (Graphium doson evemonides) and the Blue Helen (Papilio prexaspes prexaspes).  The Common Jay is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ as it occurs only in Pulau Ubin today, and there is concern that the colony there may not be sustainable.  As for the other three papilio butterflies, their status is assessed to be ‘Vulnerable’. This is the first level of the threatened status; the second and third levels being ‘Endangered’ and ‘Critically Endangered’ respectively with the third level being the final stage before extinction. 


To mark this event, the Butterfly and Insect Group (BIG) of Nature Society (Singapore) will be conducting a one-day race to see the number and types of Swallowtail (Papilionidae family) butterflies that can be observed on the island. Teams comprising of 3 to 5 persons will visit the various habitats where the Papilio butterflies are known to frequent.


The race is organized by Nature Society (Singapore) in collaboration with Wildlife Reserves Singapore and  will be tentatively held on 9 June in line with the occasion. However, the date is subject to change due to venue confirmation. Nonetheless, registration is now open. Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis and will close on Friday, 31 May. The Terms of Participation, details of the various habitat locations, date confirmation, and other relevant information will be released on our website in due time. To keep abreast of these updates, please click here.


Photo credit: KC Tsang

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