Nature society launches campaign for Singaporeans to vote for national butterfly

One has red and white colours on its wings. Another is a threatened species named after the tiger-like stripes on its wings.

Both butterflies, together with four others, are vying for the title of Singapore's national butterfly.

The Nature Society (Singapore) launched a campaign yesterday for Singaporeans to vote for the butterfly that they think best represents the Singapore spirit.

The six nominees were short-listed by a panel of 14 experts from the society. The criteria included the species' beauty, size, conservation status and uniqueness to Singapore.

The butterflies are the Painted Jezebel, Common Birdwing, Common Tiger, Knight, Common Rose and Common Tree Nymph.

Mr Anuj Jain, 30, chairman of the society's Butterfly and Insect Group, said the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of how butterflies enhance the environment, and the need to protect them and their natural habitats.

The Common Birdwing, despite its name, is a threatened species and the largest butterfly in Singapore. The native plant that this species feeds on is very rare in Singapore.

"People can help by planting another plant that this butterfly feeds on, which is the Dutchman's Pipe," he added.

Similarly, the Common Tiger's native habitat is the mangrove and coastal areas. But coastal erosion and the destruction of mangrove swamps, caused by development activities, threaten its survival.

"The Common Tiger is adaptable, so it can be found in parks and gardens. But other coastal species are so sensitive that they die off," said Mr Anuj, who is also an ecologist.

The society will pitch the winning butterfly to the authorities, in the hope that it will be granted the official status of national butterfly.

Members of the public can vote for their chosen butterfly species at Voting ends on April 30.

When asked about his pick, Mr Anuj pointed to the Common Rose, only because he has done studies on it.

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