Sitting on 2,000 square meters, the new Butterfly Park in Antalya is home to thousands of butterflies from 50 different species brought from 25 countries. The park is expecting to bring 100 more butterfly species in the future and welcome more than 200,000 visitors annually
The newly opened Butterfly Park in southern Antalya is attracting scores of visitors with its collection of multihued butterflies. The park contains several different species of butterflies, including Attacus Atlas, Cethosia Cyane, Graphium Agamennon, Hypolimnas Bolina, Idea Leuconea, Pachiopta Kotzebuea, Papilio Demoleus, Papilio Lowi, Papilio Polinurus, Papilio Polytes, Papilio Rumanzoia and Parthenos Sylvia.
More than 10,000 plants and flowers have been introduced into the park to provide a food source for the butterflies. Biologist Havva Oman, an expert on butterflies, said: "Butterflies are very delicate creatures. They need certain plant species to stay alive. All of the plants featured in the park are chosen according to the needs of the butterflies." Some of the most notable park facilities are the botanical garden, wild animals, birds, special habitat for ants and a section where visitors can watch the honey-making process in beehives.
The park also maintains temperatures and humidity levels that best suit the butterflies. The temperature of the park runs from 35-38 degrees, while the humidity shifts between 30 and 50 percent. Butterflies usually prefer waterfronts for their habitats. To provide the best living space for these butterflies, the park built an artificial waterfall with a cave. "The butterflies, which are hard to observe in nature, can easily be seen in our park," said the park's General Manager Barış Dursun.
The park now teems with butterflies zipping through the air after many of them recently emerged from their cocoons. Classified by the colors and patterns on their wings, the butterflies land on the hands of visitors and hide between their wings when they are scared.
Dursun offered his own insight into the charm of butterflies, saying that butterflies consistently amaze people, especially children. He characterized butterflies as the "small friends of nature."
Dursun also emphasized how the park will benefit tourism revenues and further develop the eco-tourism industry. Commenting on this bio-diversity, Dursun said that the park's aim is to diversify tourism activities and contribute to flora and fauna tourism in the region.
The park expects to welcome over 200,000 visitors annually. The park administration also wants to increase the number of butterflies as well as further diversify the park's butterfly population. "We are planning to bring nearly 100 new butterfly species from 25 countries," said Dursun.
The Antalya project already ranks as the most ambitious of its kind in Turkey.
"Our project is the biggest butterfly park in Turkey," said Dursun, adding: "Visitors can see butterflies in a specially designed enclosed area extending 2,000 square meters. The park is home to thousands of butterflies from 50 different species brought from 25 countries."
The park is located on 1.23 acres in Antalya's Kundu region and took almost a year to complete. While planning the project, officials studied over 20 butterfly parks in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The park in Antalya is now the third butterfly park in Turkey, following those constructed in Istanbul and Konya.
Although there are various beliefs about the lifetime of butterflies, some people wrongly believe that butterflies only live for a day. "This information is entirely wrong," said Dursun who indicated that the lifetime of butterflies living in the park varies from two to four weeks. The life cycles of the butterflies in the park are counted from the end of the pupa period. The butterflies wait for a day to dry their wings before starting to fly. During the reproduction period, female butterflies can lay up to 1,000 eggs. The lifetime of a butterfly is generally 30 days, starting from their egg phase to their death.