Butterfly guardian surveys Yunnan biodiversity

Yang Zhenwen has spent more than two decades trekking the mountains in Southwest China looking into new species

By Wang Xiaoyu and Li Yingqing in Honghe, Yunnan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-07-11 09:16
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Editor's note: As protection of the planet's flora, fauna and resources becomes increasingly important, China Daily is publishing a series of stories to illustrate the country's commitment to safeguarding the natural world.

Jungle queen butterflies gather in the so-called butterfly valley in Jinping, Yunnan province. BAI MENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

The life of Yang Zhenwen is deeply intertwined with butterflies, so much so that the 47-year-old has three nicknames associated with the winged insects.

The curator of the Butterfly Museum in Jinping county, Yunnan, Yang is sometimes referred to as "the butterfly daddy" because he has traversed the mountains of the province in Southwest China for more than two decades to survey butterfly species and contribute to their conservation.

The passionate enthusiast has accompanied scientists on treks into the mountains in Jinping, and even contributed to the discovery and identification of new butterfly species.

His museum is home to more than 2,200 butterfly specimens, and is the headquarters for Yang to spread knowledge about the insect and promote awareness of environmental protection.

When he is giving tours to visitors and nature enthusiasts, he becomes "the butterfly encyclopedia".

The moniker "the butterfly guardian" has also been bestowed on Yang for his meticulous care for the delicate insects.

As a special treat for the butterflies, he and his fellow villagers have created a concoction of water, sugar, sticky rice flour and pineapple that they spray around the local trails and on branches in the forest.

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