Butterfly farming Program for Guang xi, China?
- Dear NAPPC Members:During the Orchid Conference in Guang xi Zhuang semi-autonomous region (May 19 - 26) we were addressed by Dr. Chen, Zhangliang, the Vice Governor of the Region. Vice Governor Chen received his PhD in Moelcular Biology (trans-genic research) from Washington University, Missouri. He is most interested in developing projects that will help alleviate rural poverty and bad agricultural practices in his region. The Vice Governor wants to pursue programs in eco-tourism and sustainability.Guang xi is a magnificent region of heavily-forested, karst limestone mountains. The government has already designated one mountainous section as the Yachang Orchid Reserve and Chinese tourists are frequenting this site. During my stay I was most impressed by the local diversity and density of sub-tropical butterflies. Many native butterfly species appear to prefer to "puddle" where water buffaloes wallow. Large swallowtails, in particular, are so common they invade hotel rooms in Baise City (where we held our conference). I have suggested to the Vice Governor that local people be brought into a business-government supported franchise for the rearing and pinning of selected butterfly species. This program would follow similar programs described for Papua New Guinea and part of Indonesia in which eggs and/or caterpillars are "loaned" to local formers who rear the larvae on appropriate food plants. They are resold to the government or business upon pupation. The business then allows adults to mate and then kills and pins specimens for sale. If you shop in Beijing you frequently find expensive cases of pinned butterflies and other insects for sale so there appears to be a domestic and foreign market.Vice Governor Chen is most interested in such a project as Guang xi is the major producer of commercial silk so local economy may have an affiliation for the rearing of helpful insects, in general. He's asked for more information on how to start up such a project but I have no knowledge and can't suggest useful references. Does anyone out there have personal experience, literature and/or dependable websites related to this industry? If so, please write Vice Governor, Chen directly <chen@...>.Sincerely,Peter BernhardtDepartment of Biology3507 Laclede Ave.Saint Louis UniversitySaint Louis, MO 63103U.S.A.Telephone (work): 314-977-7152