GANGTOK: Blue Duke was named the State Butterfly of Sikkim by Chief Minister P.S. Golay on the occasion of World Environment Day celebrations. During an event organised by the Forest Department, the announcement was made at Saramsa Garden near Ranipool.
Blue Duke, a Sikkim native butterfly species, won the title of State Butterfly of Sikkim, beating out Krishna Peacock. The two butterflies were chosen from a pool of 720 butterfly species for the State Butterfly Awards.
According to the Forest Department, the State Butterfly was chosen through online voting between April and September. Blue Duke received 57 percent of the 4036 votes cast, while Krishna Peacock received 43 percent.
Blue Duke is found in the Himalayas at elevations below 1,500 metres and is commonly found in places like Pakyong, Passingdong, and Hee-Gyathang in Dzongu, Lingee in South Sikkim, and Yangsum in West Sikkim, as well as Tadong and Ranka closer to the State capital.
Similarly, opinions were sought from the Forest Department's 11-member expert committee for the State Butterfly selection process. It was revealed that six experts backed Blue Duke, while the remaining five backed Krishna Peacock.
Blue Duke was given State butterfly status by Nosang M. Limboo, an expert on Sikkim's birds and butterflies, because of its importance to the Himalayan state.
Nosang discovered the species in 2012, near the Nar Bahadur Bhandari Degree College in Tadong, Gangtok. Since then, he has approached both the previous and current State governments, requesting that the butterfly species be designated as the State butterfly.
Blue Duke, also known as Bassarona durga durga, is unique to Sikkim and the Eastern Himalayas, having been discovered in the state in 1858. Blue Duke is a highly protected butterfly species in the Himalayas that is listed on Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
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