The Aralam wildlife sanctuary is located in the northern part of Kerala, along with the western ghats. A place blessed with wide varieties of animal species, established in 1984. This wildlife sanctuary is one of the main attractions in the northern district of Kerala, Kannur. The farm provides an opportunity for various educational institutions to explore the nature. Apart from this, the farm also provides accommodation for students and faculties. The butterflies are the main enticement among all other varieties of birds and animals.
The Annual Butterfly Survey
Butterflies have always fascinated mankind with its beauty. They make our lives more colorful. Butterflies have played significant roles in numerous studies as well. On the other hand, the worlds largest butterfly is an endangered species in Guinea. These species are facing dwindling numbers due to the palm oil industry eating up the habitat, as well as logging and illegal trading. As a result, these species are also contributing consequently in the news headlines in the recent times. The Annual Butterly Survey in Aralam concluded that there exist 179 species of butterflies on the farm. Out of these 179 species, 9 species are endemic in the Western Ghats. The annual butterfly survey was organized in association with, Malabar Natural History Society and the Forest Department in the Aralam farm. Almost 142 butterfly enthusiasts participated in the survey from all over India and South India.
The sanctuary gives the visitors the most amazing view of butterflies. The mud-puddling of butterflies is worth watching. In other words, the butterflies gather in certain areas to absorb moist substances such as rotting plant matter from mud. Two new species of butterflies were discovered in the survey- Nilgiri Grass Yellow and Silver Streak Acacia Blue. With the addition of these new species, there exist a total number of 257 butterflies in Aralam farm now. The family Nymphalidae(Brush-footed butterflies) is the most diverse with 67 species. Followed by Lycaenidae blues with 50 species, Hesperiidae- skippers with 25 species, and Pieridae- whites, and yellows with 20 species. However, the family of Riodinidae(Judies and Punches) consist of single species of butterfly.
The sanctuary with 55 square kilometers is home for a wide range of animals from elephants to the humble group of deer, as well as waterfalls and rivers around which creates the most beautiful atmosphere for both animals and visitors. Summer and spring are the best seasons to visit the farm. The colorful flowers, greenery and moist around due to the summer showers. Similarly, the farm has a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and medicinal plants. The medicinal plants are the essence of the tribal communities living in and around the farm.