Kenya: London Museum, Cambridge University to Tap Kenyan Butterflies

The African Butterfly Research Institute has reached an agreement with the London Natural History Museum and Cambridge University to buy pupae from farmers in Kenya under a butterfly farming programme being led by Base Titanium in Kwale County.

The African Butterfly Research Institute in partnership with mining company Base Titanium has rolled out a butterfly farming initiative aimed at improving the quality of science learning in Kwale schools and provide an income for local communities.

The African Butterfly Research Institute in partnership with mining company Base Titanium has rolled out a butterfly farming initiative aimed at improving the quality of science learning in Kwale schools and provide an income for local communities.

The programme launched under Base Titanium's environmental programmes has registered 30 farmers from Fihoni and Magaoni in a trial that will see participants sell the butterflies to local and international markets.

Steve Collins a director at African Butterfly Research Institute said: "We have reached a partnership with the London Natural History Museum and Cambridge University to buy pupae from the farmers at competitive prices."

It was revealed that farmers can fetch between Ksh30 (US$0.30) to Ksh80 (US$0.80) per pupae, depending on the species and the market. Some of the pupae will also be sold at the Gede Centre on Kenya's north coast.

Pupae

Micah Muema, the Environment Manager at Base Titanium said: "This butterfly project is one of the numerous environmental programmes that we run in partnership with our local community. We involve the community to create awareness on environmental conservation and to also boost their livelihoods."

"A healthy butterfly population indicates a healthy and clean environment as they cannot survive in polluted areas," he added.

Base Titanium runs a comprehensive suite of environment programmes that includes; a recycling programme which has seen the company donate school-desks, school bags and shopping bags to the community as well as the rehabilitation programme where the community provides grass and legume seeds that can be used to plant around areas being rehabilitated following mining activities.

The butterflies will now be reared at the company's environment department as the community is being trained and provided with all equipment including a flying house where the butterflies will be caged.

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