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Arunachal Pradesh declares magnificent Kaiser-i-Hind as state butterfly

Kaiser-i-Hind butterfly has been declared as the state butterfly of Arunachal Pradesh.

The large brightly coloured Kaiser-i-Hind butterfly, the word literally translates to “Emperor of India”  has been declared as the state butterfly of Arunachal Pradesh.

The magnificent butterfly carries ‘India’ in its name and is found along the Eastern Himalayas in Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam, Sikkim and Manipur.

The very rare swallowtail butterfly is also found in neighbouring countries China, Bhutan, Nepal Myanmar and Vietnam and Laos. In India,

Butterfly-lovers feel the decision of Arunachal Pradesh to declare Kaiser-i-Hind as a state butterfly will boost butterfly tourism and save the species from extinction in the state.

The Arunachal State Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Saturday approved the large, brightly coloured Kaiser-i-Hind as the State butterfly. The Cabinet meeting was for the first time held outside State capital Itanagar at an unusual location — Pakke Tiger Reserve. The Pema Khandu Cabinet adopted the Pakke Tiger Reserve 2047 Declaration on Climate Change-Resilient and Responsive Arunachal Pradesh.

The first dead specimen of Kaiser-i-Hind was recorded in Sikkim by Usha Lachugpa, a senior forest official of the State, in 2012.  Later in 2014, It was captured live on camera by a few participants during a butterfly watching meet in Arunachal Pradesh’s Talle Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.

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Thrilled with the discovery, Koj Rinya, the divisional forest officer of Hapoli forest division moved the proposal to declare Kaiser-i-Hind as a state butterfly saying that it was a rare and spectacular swallowtail butterfly species. It is protected by Indian law under schedule II of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. This butterfly is an IUCN red-listed species.

The Kaiser-i-Hind butterfly (Teinopalpus imperialis) is unmistakable and cannot be confused with any other butterfly. A predominantly green swallowtail, the male has a bright chrome-yellow patch on each hind wing. This butterfly with a 90-120 mm wingspan is found in six States along the Eastern Himalayas at elevations from 6,000-10,000 feet in well-wooded terrain.

According to the WWF India, the Kaiser-i-Hind butterfly has a strong and fast flight. It usually flies at tree-top level but when there is strong morning sunlight it descends to sit on low vegetation. April to July is the period when it is in flight. Its eggs are laid on the underside of leaves and are pale purplish red in colour and smooth and spherical in shape.

With as many as 700 species of butterfly fluttering around its stunning mountain landscapes, Arunachal Pradesh is a paradise for nature lovers and botany buffs.