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Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre

Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre

Updated: 2017-05-28 06:03:35

Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre (BBC or BSBC) is a butterfly zoo near Siem Reap, Cambodia. Founded in 2009, it is the largest enclosed butterfly centre in Southeast Asia. The centre is sometimes referred to as the Angkor Butterfly Center.

Small, pink hued and featuring the most exquisite and detailed carvings, Banteay Srey is considered by many to be one of the loveliest of all the Angkorian temples. Just under 40 kilometres from Siem Reap, the ‘Citadel of the Women’ was beautifully restored by French archaeologists who described it as a “precious gem” and a “jewel in Khmer art”. It is certainly worth the trip, and almost invariably becomes the favourite site of all who visit. There’s more to be discovered nearby too, and it’s worth taking a whole day to take it all in.

The key highlight of Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre is its large netted enclosure with a variety of free-flying butterflies – most of which are indigenous to the country. It is truly a great experience to feed butterflies here and see them fluttering from one flower to another. Another interesting attraction is the pupae stage. Some of the species featured here are Atlas Moth, Blue Glassy Tiger, Dark Blue Tiger, Five-Barred Swordtail, Great Mormon, Gaudy Baron, Lime Butterfly, Orange Emigrant, Peacock Pansy, Red Helen and Tailed Jay. Visitors can also obtain valuable information on other stages of butterfly metamorphosis. If you’re lucky enough, you may sometimes catch sight of a caterpillar morphing into a chrysalis (pupa). Above all, the BBC stands out for its stunning plant and floral varieties that include, but not limited to, multihued orchids and red ixora chinensis. So if you ever plan to take a tour to Siem Reap or Cambodia, this butterfly centre is definitely an attraction not to miss out on.

Activities

Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre has been designed and financed by Ben Hayes and Mike Baltzer, two British butterfly enthusiasts, who had previously set up the Zanzibar Butterfly Centre in Tanzania, East Africa. It is financed as a tourist attraction, generating income for running the centre and local charity projects. BBC is part of the ConCERT project, a Cambodian project connecting responsible tourism with environmental conservation.

Scientifically, butterflies belong to the insect group of lepidopterans, which also includes moths, and moths also have the attention of Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre. The centre showcase examples of the large variety of lepidopterans in Cambodia, preferably local varieties, in large netted garden environment. As butterflies have a short lifespan of no more than a few weeks and because many species are seasonal, there are twice as many species present around the centre during November and December.

Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre also works as a sustainable butterfly farm, providing training for locals. Some of the farmed butterflies are meant for the centre's own gardens, while others are meant for sale and export.

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