My hand is up - yep, I love butterflies too. They're so beautiful. They're gentle and elegant and, despite their fragile state, are tough little critters. They also play a vital role in our ecosystems - butterflies are important indicators of a healthy environment.
At the moment, the aviary is a closed structure and visitors can only walk around it, but there are plans to open the butterfly house soon so that visitors can have a wonderful walk-through experience.
The aviary will become home to 7 different species of butterflies - Monarchs, two types of Swallowtails, Lesser Wanderers, Common Browns, Australian Admirals and Painted Ladies. Volunteers have been busily collecting caterpillars and adult butterflies and the correct botanic species have been planted in the aviary and the off-site caterpillar nursery. Cleland staff will work closely with the Butterfly Conservation Society to breed the threatened species, the Chequered and Dainty Swallowtails and the Lesser Wanderers, for release back into the Mt Lofty Ranges area.
Many South Australians will remember the Butterfly House which was next door to the now-defunct Puzzle Park at Murray Bridge. The 2 parks closed more than 10 years ago and this brand-new Butterfly House will be a welcome return to those who were fans. The butterfly's new home at Cleland is sure to become an instant and popular attraction for tourists, school groups, photographers and nature lovers in general.
I'm sure that once fully opened for walk-through experiences, Cleland's Butterfly Aviary will become one of SA's most magical wildlife adventures - it promises to be both enchanting and educational. What better way to learn about South Australia's beautiful butterflies than to be in their home with them.
To coincide with the opening of the aviary, Cleland Wildlife Park (in partnership with the South Australian Museum and the Butterfly Conservation Society) has launched an exhibition on butterflies and their ecology, biology and environmental value. The exhibition can be seen in the Ocean to Outback Interpretive Centre within the Wildlife Park.