Butterfly Man -Meet Parag Rangnekar
We have in our midst a young man who is passionate about preserving and documenting the environment and has been going about this with dedication and perseverance for over two decades. Since childhood Parag has been a keen observer of the flora and fauna around him. Two months of school vacations in Amboli, at the family house, provided additional opportunity to tune in to nature and its wonders.
A post graduation in Plant Pathology and a Masters in Ecology and Environment added to his expertise in the field. He was awarded the Hexamer Foundation Gold Medal for standing first in the discipline of Plant-Protection in his University. At a very young age he has been nominated on the Advisory Board of Society for Ecological Restoration – India; Goa Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education to formulate the syllabus for Environment Education and Vivekanand Environment Awareness Brigade, a NGO working very actively in Goa. He is also a member of the Resource Persons Committee of WWF – Goa Chapter. As a part of the Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan, he has been actively involved in creating awareness about the ill-effects of the diversion of the Mhadei (Mandovi) River.
Like most environment enthusiasts Parag started with bird watching but soon switched his attention to butterflies. The butterflies of Goa had not been photo-documented and as Parag observes,” The Goa gap of the western Ghats where the altitude drops suddenly is unique in its vegetation. This provides a unique habitat, where in addition to endemic South Indian species, there could be species not found elsewhere. His quest for documenting the butterflies of this unique region resulted in documenting 220 species. A significant discovery includes 13 butterfly species not spotted before, inhabiting the region.
He is the author of a book “Butterflies of Goa”, which is perhaps a first field guide with photographs of the species found in this region.
Parag is now doing extensive documentation of the Dragonflies of the state on which very little study has been done. “Dragonflies are an excellent bio-indicator of the health of water bodies that need to be watched by anyone interested in preventing the water bodies from deterioration and pollution,” observes Parag.
Weekends invariably see the Rangnekars engaged in a field trip. Wife Shraddha, a Zoology professor at the Dhempe College and young six year old daughter Avani, who has already started identifying butterflies, are also nature enthusiasts, and so the family is a team immersed in doing what is their passion.
Parag – means pollen grain – a name that perfectly suits this passionate and accomplished nature watcher !
• Post monsoon is the best time for butterfly spotting
• Pre monsoon is the time for forest and riverside butterfly specie spotting
• Mornings 7.30 am to about 12 noon is the time to look for butterflies.
• Lantana, Ixora, in pinks and reds are good plants to attract butterflies.
• Contrary to common belief the rose is not attractive to butterflies.