Conservation of Butterflies
in South Africa (CBISA) - Founded 1993

A Non Profit Company Company (NPC) - Registration No. 2005/035451/08, Public Benifit Organization (PBO) - Tax Exemption No 930033432 - P. O. Box 599, Ramsgate, 4285.

News Headlines

4th Generation butterfly collector Deryck Earl Whiteley

Deryck became the leading expert in South Africa on the Pieredae family, one of the nine butterfly families known in South Africa. It was in 1958 that he discovered his first butterfly species called Zophopetes dysmephila. He collected with all the great collectors of the time, Dr. D.A. Swanepoel, Ken Pennington, Clive Quickeburg, Dr. David Edge, Dr. Vari, Ivor Migdol and the like. This was the first time that the Whiteleys were newsworthy.

4th Generation butterfly collector Deryck Earl WhiteleyNews article: Vir Deryck is vakansietyd skoenlappertyd
(Deur Eeufesia Kellerman)

Vrolike vlinders, ver paaie en vangnette, dis wat Deryck Whiteley in sy kop het as dit vakansietyd word en hy en vroutjielief die lang pad vat om te gaan skoenlappers soek Soms gaan dit berge op en dale af, maar dis die moeite wed want die Whiteleys het die pragtigste versameling vlindertjies. Deryck het as't ware groot geword met skoenlappers, daar in the Malopo se wereld, op die grens van Wes-Transvaal en Botswana. Hy vertel: "Daar was geen vermaak nie en my pa het begin om skoenlappers bymekaar te maak en te pers, sommer so vir 'n tydverdryf."

Toe trek hulle Transvaal toe en pa Whiteley merk dat die omgewing se skoenlappers anders lyk. Hy het klein Deryck daarop attent gemaak en net daar het die skoenlappergogga hom gebuit. Eers het pa gevang en hy gepers maar op 'n jeugidge agt jaar het hy self begin bymekar maak. In sy hoerskooljare het hy Mnr DA Swanepoel, die skrywer van SA Butterflies, ontmoet en die het hom onder hande geneem en meer geleer van die professionele sy van versameling.

"Ja" vertel Deryck, "dit is nie sommer net 'n kwessie van skoenlappers vang nie, 'n mens moet hulle darem ook kan identifiseer." Hy gebruik gewoonlik organdie of nylon vir sy vangnette, anders kan die vlinders se vlerkies seer kry en hulle moet so perfek moontlik bewaar word. Deryck het 'n hele versameling boeke oor skoenlappers maar is besorg omdat daar niks in Afrikaans bestaan nie. Hy is self besig om 'n Afrikaanse lys saam te stel. Hy het byvoorbeeld die Hutchinson - 'n pragtige donkerbruin-en-blou vlinder met silwer kringe wat soos perels blink in die son. Wanneer Deryck Whiteley nie buite besig is om vlinders te jag nis sal u hom by die ontvangstoonbank by die SAUK in Durban aantref, ver van die veld en die vlinders wat so na aan sy hart lê.

5th generation butterfly collector Earle Whiteley

The interest and passion in butterflies was acquired early in the life of Earle Whiteley. Seen as bellow from left, Shane Whiteley, Deryck Earl Whiteley a third generation collector, Earle Whiteley who caught the original specimens flying on the beach in Durban at the ski-boat base. Deryck Earl Whiteley, who has been collecting butterflies from the age of 17 years, his father Arthur Whiteley had been collecting butterflies from the age of fifteen and his father William Whiteley form the age of twenty three. The Whiteley family, officially the oldest butterfly collecting family in Africa, has discovered quite a few new butterfly species and hundred of variatype's relating to some existing South African species.

Butterflies such as this particular cabbage white was one on the interesting discoveries made by Earle on the beach adjacent to the skin-diving hot spot called "Veggies Pier"

News article: Flying pest seen in Durban
Daily News Reporter

A butterfly pest, well known in Europe for its ravages on cabbage patches, has been seen in Durban for the first time. This is also the first record of this species in South Africa.

Mr DA Swanepoel, a butterfly expert and author of "Butterflies of South Africa", verified today that the butterfly first seen by Mr Deryck Whiteley on Durban Bluff was a large Cabbage White, or Pieris brasicae, until now unknown in South Africa. The discovery has caused considerable excitement in lepidopterist circles, as it raises the question of how the butterfly has come here. Mr Swanepoel believes that they may have been deliberately bred by collectors here, as enthusiasts often exchanged pupae with overseas friends. Mr Whiteley maintains that a few specimens may have arrived with a cargo of imported cabbages. Anyone noticing large white butterflies hovering about the cabbage patch is asked to notify the scientific department of the Durban Museum.

News article: Author Earle Whiteley's new book of butterflies to be published soon
(Extract from "The Local Exposure", 1974, Cape Town).

The discovery by Earle Whiteley is different from the butterfly found in Durban in 1968, these being much larger have been identified by the Natural History Museum in London as being Pierus brasicea (the cabbage white) which has made a colony in Cape Town, Constancia.

All his books have become collector's items, due to the quantity that have been produced. There have been no reprints of any of the following books: Dira clytus clytus and all known variations", Dixia charina charina and all known variations", "Acrea horta horta and all known variations", "Phasis thero thero and all known variations", "Aleoides pierus and all known variations", "Dixia charina charina and all known variations".

Research and writing
Part of the research was done in the Cape Province. Busy writing his 13th book butterfly book called "Collecting Butterflies a Beginners Guide". This book was specifically produced to help those collectors to avoid the wanton slaughter of just collecting butterflies, but shows how collectors can breed butterflies and released those not wanted back into nature, therefore keeping the biodiversity of the area from which butterflies are caught and released intact.

Looking for the perfect place for a butterfly sanctuary
George Van Der Merwe and Chantall Meyer, joined Earle Whiteley in his passion for the development of a butterfly sanctuary, going house to house, door to door, telling everyone they met about the butterfly sanctuary, that they intended to build.

News article: Author Earle Whiteley's new book of butterflies to be published soon
(Extract from "The Local Exposure", 1974, Cape Town).

The discovery by Earle Whiteley is different from the butterfly found in Durban in 1968, these being much larger have been identified by the Natural History Museum in London as being Pierus brasicea (the cabbage white) which has made a colony in Cape Town, Constancia.

All his books have become collector's items, due to the quantity that have been produced. There have been no reprints of any of the following books: Dira clytus clytus and all known variations", Dixia charina charina and all known variations", "Acrea horta horta and all known variations", "Phasis thero thero and all known variations", "Aleoides pierus and all known variations", "Dixia charina charina and all known variations",

Batty over butterflies
Lepidopterist George
van der Merwe (left)
and Earle Whiteley
admire part of Earle's
extensive butterfly

Research and writing
Part of the research was done in the Cape Province. Busy writing his 13th book butterfly book called "Collecting Butterflies a Beginners Guide". This book was specifically produced to help those collectors to avoid the wanton slaughter of just collecting butterflies, but shows how collectors can breed butterflies and released those not wanted back into nature, therefore keeping the biodiversity of the area from which butterflies are caught and released intact.

Looking for the perfect place for a butterfly sanctuary
George Van Der Merwe and Chantall Meyer, joined Earle Whiteley in his passion for the development of a butterfly sanctuary, going house to house, door to door, telling everyone they met about the butterfly sanctuary, that they intended to build

Butterfly farm planned on the South Coast
The idea of breeding butterflies and releasing them back into nature was born. The end of people just collecting butterflies has made itself known. Breeding butterflies in different localities will provide richness to the landscapes they come from and save many species that are near extinction. Too much land has been taken away from butterflies by development, without consideration for other creations besides butterflies. Collectors shall have to collect with care when it comes to butterfly species that are so rare that collecting only a few female specimens of that species, could be the end of the species.

News article: Butterfly farm planned on KZN south coast
(By Keith Ross)

A butterfly 'farm' will soon be started as a tourist attraction - and as a centre for conservation and research - at Ramsgate on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast. The farm will specialize in breeding rare butterflies and could help to save some threatened species from extinction.

"We hope to open the farm in December," said the man behind the project, Mr Earle Whiteley, who has been collecting butterflies for 38 years. "I intend to open the farm with 35 to 55 species of butterfly, but we still have a lot of work to do." Whiteley said he had reached an agreement to use part of a Ramsgate nursery, Lost World, as his butterfly farm. "It is an ideal piece of land with a river and a lot of natural vegetation - well suited to the relocation of butterflies."

He said butterflies would be relocated from many parts of the province and this required a huge amount of work. "We first have to find places where we can get the butterflies' host plants - the food plants - and relocate them to the farm. The plants attract the females and the males will follow". Whiteley said it was sometimes necessary to build a cage over the plant and introduce a female to lay eggs.

"The larvae hatch and feed on the host plant. The cage can then be removed and the mature butterflies will eventually gravitate back." He intends to relocate a lot of butterflies from the La Lucia area in Durban. "In a stretch of forest at La Lucia there are 300 species of butterfly, 12 of which are scarce and found nowhere else. We are already relocating plants from that area." Whiteley said he had become very aware in recent years of the need to conserve butterflies. "We have 1060 species of butterflies in South Africa, about 25% of which are extremely rare." We want to breed these rare species, especially the large, forest butterflies, until we can put some of them back into nature".

Involving everyone, in an awareness of butterflies
Earle Whiteley, has a different outlook to the collecting of butterflies, such as it was. All were collectors, but he became a scientist, studying butterflies to even the variations that appear within the different species. Creating awareness programs, giving school lectures and lectures to garden clubs, golf clubs, planting trees/host plants, to any organization or individual who cared to listen. Then the media began to take note.

News article: Flights of fancy- the latest tourist attraction

The lifecycle of the butterfly is one of nature's incredible stories and like the butterfly; Lepidoptera Earle Whiteley's dream of a Butterfly farm is busy hatching. The farm, situated at the Lost World in Ramsgate will become known as 'Butterflies of the Lost World' and if all goes according to plan, should be open to the public by the end of the year, Earle told the Fever that he believes the farm will probably be the largest Butterfly farm in Southern Africa. "The farm will include a butterfly museum, curio shop laboratory and workshops," explained Earle "while the 'cage' that will house the butterflies will be 50m long. The specially netted area," he pointed out "will cover the small river and will be 15m high. Earle also told the Fever that he hopes to house more than 60 species of butterfly in the area by December.

This week, Earle and a group of school children from Umzintovale Primary School planted a young Natal Mahogany tree, which will be the host plant for the butterfly Charaxes Brutus. "Although this butterfly is found along the Natal coast", explained Earle "it is rarely seen because it is a 'high flyer' and frequents the tree tops. By planting this tree," he added "we are ensuring that a colony of these beautiful butterflies can be found here and will be seen by people visiting the farm."

Earle, who has just launched his latest book, 'Butterflies, a beginners guide' told the Fever that although a limited number of copies is being printed, the book is being to sold to raise funds for the farm. "I also hope that the book will create a greater awareness for butterflies. The book," he added "provides enthusiasts with a comprehensive guide on how to keep butterflies in their garden as well as the correct technique to capturing these delicate creatures."
While a number of butterfly enthusiasts have already volunteered their help in establishing the farm, Earle has set out on an awareness and fundraising campaign. "I have initiated a school competition," he said "where I am asking children to design the cover of my next book. The school that wins will receive R5000 and the child will have his school fees paid for a year." Earle is also requesting the assistance of local businesses that can assist in donating timber or netting for the farm.

Butterfly Sanctuary opening

Caption: New attraction Butterfly collector Earle Whiteley, (right)
and his assistant Eben Van der Merwe,
plant out host plants at the butterflies of
the Lost World Butterfly Farm.
After months of hard work, this new
tourist attraction is up and running.

Caption (left): Teachers Port Edward Primary teachers, (from left) Elva Collier, Candice Nicholson, and Carla Evans, enjoy their visit to the 'Butterflies of the Lost World' at Ramsgate.

Caption (right): Papillion Curator Earle Whiteley, of the Lost World; points out a butterfly to Port Edward Primary teachers, Brenda Nicholson, (left) and Almarie Kingsey-Ahlers. Ramsgate.


News article: Ramsgate Butterfly farm is now open

After months of hard work and preparations the Hibiscus Coast's very own butterfly farm, Butterflies of the Lost World, has opened its doors. Anyone interested in butterflies is welcome to attend the farm's official opening, this Saturday, from 10am. The entry fee of R20 per person includes a braai and a chance to take a look at the farm and museum. One of the highlights of the morning will be the release of a batch of butterflies into the netted dome. The newcomers will join about 300 butterflies, representing 71 South African species, already at home in the dome.

Indigenous: Unlike other butterfly farms in South Africa, Butterflies of the Lost World houses only indigenous species. It has therefore had to collect indigenous host plants from all over South Africa to keep the butterflies happy. The farm is the brainchild of collector and author, Earle Whiteley, who has discovered a new species in this area. At the official opening, there will be a special auction and the butterfly will be named after the highest bidder. A number of businessmen have expressed interest in the auction.

A team from SABC2's nature program, 50/50 will also be at the opening and will be putting together a documentary on the farm. The butterfly farm is situated just off Fascadale Road in Ramsgate, about 1km inland from the main South Coast Road. It is well sign-posted from the main road.

The opening day was on the 14th January 2000 and was filmed by the TV program 50/50 by the director Andrew Walters and his crew. This has appeared on many TV stations worldwide and a number of times in S.A.

News article: Butterflies are released into sanctuary
Dedicated efforts have seen a planned butterfly farm at Ramsgate become a reality. Sugan Naidoo reports

The South African Butterfly Flora Research Centre in Ramsgate was officially opened last Sunday. The occasion was attended by 63 people, including conservationists, politicians and lepidopterists (people with a passion for the insect order that includes butterflies). Among the guests were wildlife and Environment Society of south Africa (WESSA) director of conservation Cathy Kay, Lew Steyn, the deputy mayor of Hibiscus Coast, Dr Jerry Gosnell and Bill Ross Adams.

Conservation of Butterflies in South Africa (CBISA) was founded in 1993 by Earle Whiteley. He said it had been a long wait for the opening of the Ramsgate facility and that a lot of effort had been put into the research centre.
There are about 34 different species in the sanctuary, which is open to the public every day from 9 am to 4.30 pm.
For further information on the Butterfly Flora Research Centre contact Mr. Whiteley at 039 3149307..

Helping hand:
Making the opening
of the South African
Butterfly Flora
Research Centre a
huge success
last Sunday are
Chantall Meyer (left)
and Nita Dobson.

Caption: Lepidopterists Seen at the opening of the South African Butterfly Flora Research Center in Ramsgate (the name changed to SABBA, South African Butterfly Breeding Association) last Sunday are (form left Earle Whiteley, Lew Steyn and Jerry Gosnell.

Other News Articles

News article: Visit "Butterflies of the Lost World " - Africa's leading butterfly farm

Butterflies are the mot beautiful and graceful of all insects and for this reason they evoke wonder and genuine interest in most people. They have been poetically referred to as "winged flowers" and "flying gems" and their popularity is illustrated by the fact that there are over thirty butterfly houses in Britain, and in other parts of the developed world the number is also growing. Most of them import butterflies from South America and Africa, but sadly, on these two continents there are very few butterfly establishments. Well, this is about to change. In the lush green forests around Ramsgate on the Hibiscus South Coast a world-renowned butterfly expert, Earle Whiteley, and his team, have established a butterfly farm of note. They envisage growing it into a centre where research and study material will be available for the entire Africa, and further afield.

In the first phase of their ultimate goal, they already have a dome that houses over seventy species of indigenous butterflies, including the biggest and the smallest in the world. Earle and his team are passionate about what they do; they see it as a calling. "That's a strong view of insects," I venture. With real feeling, Earle explained the importance of butterflies in the life-cycle of blossoms, in the pollination of flowers for seed and fruit production. The tragedy is that their natural environment is shrinking fast. These beautiful creatures are dependent on their particular host plants, or food plants, for their survival. When these host plants are removed in the name of development, the butterflies disappear because their habitat has been destroyed. With real emotion, Earle pointed out that there are 360 species of butterflies in their natural habitat on the site where the new casino complex is due to be built north of Durban. As the casino goes up, so the butterflies will disappear. In this way their world keeps on getting smaller. And hence Earle decided to name their farm "Butterflies of the Lost World".

Apparently in Papua New Guinea the conservation of butterflies is a growing industry. There are now over 600 small-scale farmers concentrating on collecting eggs and caterpillars and rearing them to pupal stage for export to the butterfly houses in Britain and Europe. In this way the local people have come to realize that it is far more advantageous to preserve the tropical forests, which are the habitats of the butterflies, than to destroy them. In South Africa there are over 1060 species of indigenous butterflies and one can but wonder at the enormous impact on conservation if we had to adopt the same approach as Papua New Guinea. We could have saved the Dukuduku forest. Surely it is not yet too late.

Earle Whiteley has recently published a book entitled, Butterflies: A Beginners Guide. This is his second book and is on sale for R150, the proceeds being used for further development of the butterfly farm. Earle also founded the organization "Conserving Butterflies in South Africa" in 1993. He was introduced to butterfly collecting by his father, Deryck E. Whiteley, who himself was a mentor to many collectors. Earle shares his knowledge freely - he sees this as part of his calling to conserve butterflies. He has already passed on his knowledge and skills to his team members. He sets a high standard and only those who have progressed to a certain level and passed and exam can conduct tours through the dome.

I went on one of these tours and found that the enthusiasm and conviction with which knowledge is imparted makes the passion for the subject contagious. There are colourful butterflies fluttering about everywhere. The dome is made of shade cloth, which allows sun and rain through, and the vegetation consists of the host plants of various species of butterflies. They are therefore in their natural environment and, clearly, they are flourishing. Upon my exit from the dome, I was a converted disciple. Inspired, I bought some host plants, on sale on the premises, for various common butterflies and planted them in my garden. And, do you know, they definitely work. I now have a constant flow of butterflies in my garden.

So if you are just curious, or remotely interested in butterflies, do yourself a favour and visit "Butterflies of the Lost World" in Ramsgate on the Hibiscus South Coast. You are sure to also, like myself, become converted to the cause of preserving the habitat of these beautiful creations of nature. For more information phone 083 5058509 (new number (039) 314 9307.

News article: Swot up on botany for butterfly breeding

Butterfly breeding requires careful botanical study and attention to detail throughout the insects' four-stage life-cycle. Earle Whiteley, owner of the
Ramsgate Butterfly Farm, speaks to Clarke Gittens about the farm's
successful conservation efforts.

From exotic places like Costa Rica and Papua New Guinea to the KZN town of Ramsgate, butterfly farming is gaining popularity and inspiring nurseries, museums and conservation projects. "We started off with about two visitors a day. Now we get 50 and more a day during the holiday season," says Earle Whiteley, owner of Ramsgate Butterfly Farm. The farm is a subsidiary of Conservation of Butterflies in South Africa (CBISA), of which Earle is the chairperson. "In the past, there was no interest in this kind of thing, but today people are aware of conservation and appreciate what we are doing. Butterfly farming involves hard work and a lot of study to ensure that the insects are bred successfully. Earle's father, Deryck Whiteley, vice-chairperson of the
CBISA, says it calls for "real dedication".

Butterfly farming is in their blood
This father and son team are keen butterfly collectors. Deryck has collected butterflies since he was 15 - he is 74 years old now - and Earle started collecting when he was only 5. In fact, they are the only family in South Africa with four generations of butterfly collectors. In 1993 Earle founded CBISA in Cape Town, which moved to Ramsgate four years ago where they started the butterfly farm as a conservation project. Development in the La Lucia area had begun to seriously encroach on the butterflies' plant habitat, so Earle and Deryck decided to save them by relocating the insects and their host plants to the Ramsgate butterfly sanctuary.
"We checked with the Natal Parks Board, who gave us permission, and then relocated the host plants. We soon found that this was not so easy, as the plants just wouldn't grow," says Earle. "In our haste we had not studied the ecology of the plants. They have very sandy soil at La Lucia, whereas the soil on our property is loam. Agriculturalists advised us to dig a pit, fill this with sand from La Lucia and relocate the plants into this. With a bit of patience, this was successful because by the time the roots began to penetrate into the loam the plants had recovered from the trauma of transplanting, and were strong enough to survive in their new ecosystem."

Know your botany
From this experience they learnt that a practical knowledge of botany is vital to successful butterfly breeding. "You can't relocate butterflies without suitable host plants for them to breed on, and you have to know what you are doing if you want to relocate host plants. Only when the host plants are thriving can you go and collect butterflies. When we see our 'living jewels', as I call them, laying eggs and multiplying, we know we have done something right", says Deryck with pride.

The farm set-up
The farm is made up of several areas enclosed with shade cloth to keep butterflies in and predators out. Some of these areas are primarily used for establishing and/or multiplying host plants. The largest enclosed area is referred to as "the dome" and is used for breeding and displaying the butterflies. The dome has been laid out attractively with about 45% of the area used for planting host plants, and the rest for indigenous trees and flowers.

Caring for vulnerable species
New species and species with limited numbers are handled with great care. The species' host plants are inspected regularly and if eggs are found that part of the plant is cut off and taken to the breeding room, which is kept at a constant temperature. Here the eggs hatch and the caterpillars cared for as they grow. When they pupate, they are stored on little mats. The pupae hook their tails into the mats and hang upside down. Glue is then applied to the mats, which are stuck to small sticks. When the butterflies emerge they are returned to the dome.

Interesting butterfly facts
Craig Harper, who has been working and studying on the farm for about a year, shares some interesting facts with us. According to him, there are about 3,5 million species of butterfly in the world, varying from those smaller than a one-cent coin to species as large as a sheet of A4 paper. In most species, the males are more brightly coloured than the females. There's little commercial value in butterflies, but collectors sometimes pay huge amounts of money for preserved specimens - the record price being R4 700 955.

Life cycle
It is sometimes necessary, especially with the rarer species, to put the female into a small box with leaves of the host plant to encourage her to lay eggs. The hatching period varies from species to species. Sometimes, if a lot of eggs have been laid on a plant, only a portion of the eggs will hatch, while the rest remain dormant until the first group has pupated. This ensures that there is enough food for all the offspring. And although the pupa stage normally lasts for three weeks, it can be prolonged for up to seven years while the dormant chrysalis waits for favorable climatic conditions. This ensures the butterfly's reproduction and survival.

"It's always interesting to watch the butterflies," says Deryck. "When they first go into the dome they are a bit lost. They flutter about, generally near the rood, but by the next day they are fighting for territory. They are very territorial, and chase other butterflies away from the part of a host plant they have come to regard as their own. It's also interesting that butterflies in the dome don't seem to be as afraid of people as they are out in the wild. They even come and sit on you. But once they have been released they again become very wary of people".

The butterflies, and the other insects that flourish in the bush around the farm, attract wild birds. "The bird population in the area has increased significantly since we started the farm", says Earle. "We've even seen a martial eagle, which preys on the vervet monkeys in the area."

Protecting butterflies, promoting conservation
In the wild, only some 3% of eggs laid will grow into mature butterflies. But if the butterflies are protected and kept safe from predators, the survival rate is close to 100%. Most butterflies bred on the farm are released into the wild; a few are kept for further breeding. Every now and then, Earle and Deryck are asked to supply butterflies to be released as "live confetti" at weddings. Deryck says that they are cautious with these requests, and don't sell more than some 300 butterflies out of every 1000. And they won't sell them fore release into an area where they have no chance of survival and reproduction.

"It's beautiful to see a cloud of butterflies around a bridal couple," says Deryck. "But the couple must take care to stand in a brightly lit area, or the butterflies will fly away, straight to the windows. We want to relocate butterflies into areas where they will find suitable host plants. The money raised in this way benefits the project, and more people become aware of what we are doing. Our primary goal is to promote conservation." Earle and Deryck recently heard of a farmer who, while building a road, was cutting down many butterfly host plants. With the farmer's permission they collected the plants and took them to their farm. As the plants grow, the butterflies will be collected and set to breed on the plants. "People engaged in environmental impact studies should be aware of our work, and help us to relocate were possible, as this can be crucial to the survival of rare species," Earle adds.

Butterfly farming is expensive: "We can't sell our produce as other farmers do, so we have to generate income through visitors and crafts. We depend a lot on donations, and have had a lot of help from companies such as Eskom. We are also developing a museum, because we see the farm as an educational center as well as tourist attraction. "We are planning to double the size of the dome, which will make this one of the biggest butterfly farms in the world," Deryck says excitedly.

Contact Earle and Deryck on (039) 314 9307 or 084 7247488

News article: Taking butterflies under his wing
Life-long passion spurs collector to protect and promote SA's 600 species (Picture by Grant Erskine)

A stone's throw from one of the most popular seaside resorts in KwaZulu-Natal is a haven for nature's most beautiful flying insects. Megan Power meets the man behind it.

Hidden in a safe at Duban's Natural Science Museum is a beautiful and rare African butterfly, arguably worth hundreds of thousands of rand. The person who found it lives more than 100km away in a shack on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, with a bucket for a bath and no more than wild spinach and pap to sustain him. But Earle Whitely wouldn't have it any other way. Allowing his treasured find to fall into foreign hands - he claims an eager London collector was willing to pay 35 000 pounds for the insect some 14 years ago - is simply inconceivable.

For the 44 year-old, who has dedicated his life to protecting and promoting South Africa's 600 butterfly species, no amount of material comfort, not even a real home, could make up for that kind of loss. And it's not as if his humble existence doesn't have its compensations. When Whiteley rises each day form his wooden bunk, he's greeted by the wondrous sight of not one, but close on 400, fluttering butterflies.

The vivid creatures, representing at least 70 different indigenous species, are housed in Whiteley's "dome", a remarkable 50 x 50m enclosure which he claims is the largest of its kind in Africa.

Impressive array
"It's a myth that butterfly collecting is only for the elite. You don't have to be rich to do this," says Whiteley. The struggling father of two, whose great grandfather started the family interest in butterflies, has been collecting butterflies since he was five. His father's impressive array of butterflies, known as the Whiteley Collection, have been housed at Durban's Natural Science Museum for more than 20 years.

The only butterfly kept out of the public gaze is the rare Belenois that Whiteley discovered while out butterfly catching in a sugarcane field at Lat Lucia, north of Durban, in 1986. "My Dad collapsed and started crying like a baby when he saw it," Whiteley recalls. "There simply isn't anything like it. That's why we didn't' sell it to the London collector: It's part of our heritage and it's priceless," he says. Which is pretty much how Whiteley regards all his butterflies, some endangered, that are housed and bred at Butterflies of the Lost World.

He opened the sanctuary two years ago on three acres of leased land at Ramsgate. Besides the dome, which he eventually plans to extend across the adjacent Ibilanhlolo River, the Lost World includes an incomplete information center - housing at least seven display cabinets boasting butterflies of every size and hue, as well as a life-size mural of the butterfly's life cycle - a gift shop and a tea garden.

A breeding room, where scores of pupa in various stages of metamorphosis can be seen up close, is also home to fat, striped caterpillars. Although the sanctuary is still a work in progress, with a fully-fledge> research laboratory in the pipeline, it attracts up to 20 paying visitors a day, some from as far afield as Bloemfontein and Uitenhage. But it was Whiteley's acquisition six months ago that has sparked a new concept in butterfly conservation. When the nursery adjacent to the sanctuary went up for sale, Whiteley went door-to-door to raise the required R35000 to buy it.

The nursery now boasts 65 different species of indigenous butterfly host plants - the specific plants on which butterflies choose to lay their eggs and select butterfly feeding plants. "We're trying to encourage people to buy a plant from our nursery with larvae or pupa already on it. "That way they are buying an instant butterfly garden and creating their own little colonies at home." Already Whiteley, who hopes to have his book Bringing Butterflies Back to your Garden published shortly, has helped establish three successful butterfly gardens in homes on the South Coast.

More than 60% of the host and feeding plants in his dome had to be re-introduced; most had been destroyed through development. Whiteley spends a lot of time promoting the concept of butterfly gardening, holding lectures and workshops at local schools and garden clubs. He intends starting a school on the property to train guides and teach lepidoptery. "We want to become the center of lepidoptery in Africa," says Whiteley, who claims he and his team have discovered several new species of butterfly.

Confirmation of this by the Lepidopterists Society of Africa is, however, still pending. Whiteley also wants to preserve the 25 acres of indigenous forest neighboring his sanctuary, by creating a small nature reserve to be known "Butterfly Valley". "We've found at least three rare butterflies in this valley since we've been here. It would be very sad if developers were allowed to destroy this area," he said. Whiteley, however, his elderly parents and the three friends who co-manage the sanctuary, could never raise the millions necessary to buy the land.

He can only hope his passion for the "beauty flies" rubs off on the landowners. In the meantime, he's content with watching the faces of children visitors light up when they are given their own butterflies to release at the sanctuary. And, following requests, he regularly travels to lavish weddings in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng releasing up to 200 common white butterflies outside churches in place of traditional confetti or rose petals. At R7 a butterfly, plus travelling expenses, each new wedding puts Whiteley a step closer to realizing his dream of having the largest and most spectacular butterfly sanctuary in the world.

Butterfly Briefs
- KwaZulu-Natal has a relatively high number of butterfly species, compared to the other provinces.
- The Cape has one of the highest concentrations of endemic butterflies in the world.
- The second smallest butterfly in the world, the Barbrei is found only in South Africa. It measures between 3mm and 5mm from wingtip to wingtip.
- Out of some 4000 eggs laid by butterfly, only 3% survive. The rest are eaten by predators.
- Depending on species, the pupa or chrysalis can be white, brown, lime green, rose pink and even gold.
- Male butterflies are smaller and more attractive than females.
- About 6% of butterflies are poisonous.
- Butterflies only live for between three hours and six weeks, depending on the species.
- Butterflies generally fly during day, and more adults can be seen more in summer than in winter.
- Two cups of vinegar in a five-litre bucket of water will deter caterpillars from a host plant without killing them.
- Butterfly host plants include a wide variety of indigenous plants such as the wild peach tree, milk wood, milkweed, various grasses and White ironwood. Feeding plants can include Agapanthus, wild dagga, stinging nettle and plumbago.

For more information on how to establish a butterfly garden, read Butterfly Gardening in South Africa by Jill Reid.

News article: Skoenlappers is sy kamermaats
(Daleen van Manen)

Earle Whiteley woon in 'n plastiekhut sodat sy skoenlappers 'n huis kan he! Die man, wat reeds van vyfjarige ouderdom af skoenlappers bestudeer en versamel, het drie jare gelede sy huis en al sy besittings prysgegee om 'n skoenlapperplaas aan die KwaZulu-Natalse Suidkus te begin. Reg langs die tropiese skadunetkoepel vol veelkleurige skoenlappers wat in die wintersonnetjie baljaar, staan Earle se nederige struktuur. 'n Houtraam met plastiekmure en-dak huisves al sy aardse besittings - katel, kas en eetgerei. Die stort is 'n emmer aan die dak en sy stoof is die vurmaakplek voor sy "huis". 'n Stroompie water kabbel vrolik voor die ongewone leefruimte verby.

Hy is doodgelukkig hier in sy plastiekhuis in Ramsgate se bos terwyl hy sy skoenlapperplaas en-museum opbou en planne beraam vir 'n skoenlapper navorsingsentrum en-laboratorium op die perseel. 'n Besoek aan Earle se skoenlapperplaas, The Butterfly Farm, is 'n ondervinding wat niemand moet misloop nie. Dit is die enigste inheemse skoenlapperplaas in Suid Afrika met die grootste Suid-Afrikaanse skoenlapperversameling in die wereld. Die Whiteley-versameling spog met 1,8 miljoen skoenlappers en word tans in die Durban-museum uitgestal tot tyd en wyl die museum op die plaas ingerig is.
Boonop het Earle drie jaar gelede 'n nuwe spesie skoenlapper, Eurytela vashti, hier aan die Suidkus ontdek. Die skoenlapper is nog nooit in vlug deur die res van die wereld gesien nie. Buiten die vashti het Earle ook verskeie skoenlappers "herontdek" wat as uitgestorwe beskou is of dekades lank nie opgemerk is nie. En hy hervestig baie van die skoenlappers in "geheime" gebiede om hul voortbestaan te verseker.

Hy werk nou saam met die Britse Museum in Engeland en al sy ontdekkings en navorsing word aan hulle verskaf. Earle het reeds 14 boeke oor skoenlappers geskryf en gepubliseer. Hy is nou besig met 'n handleiding oor hoe om skoenlappers na jou tuin te lok. As hy nie skryf nie, is hy in die bos waar hy weke lank uitkamp op soek na gasheerplante, larwes en papies, en die skoenlapperbevolking bestudeer.

Hy werk ook saam met boere in die gebied. "Hier is slegs 10% van die oorspronkilike bos oor. Ontwikkeling en suikerplantasies het hul tol geeis en die gepaardgaande gebruik van gifstowwe het die skoenlapperbevolking ernstig geknou." Opvoeding en 'n werkende ooreenkoms met die boere is besig om vrugte af te werp.

"Die grootste bedreiging vir die skoenlapper is uitheemse flora. As mense net wil besef dat hul tuine en omgewing kan lewe met skoenlappers as hulle van die eksotiese ontslae raak en inheemse plante plant," se Earle. Dit is juis op die manier dat hy skoenlappers lok en vind. "Ons loop nie heeldag met nette in die bos rond nie," lag hy. Die gasheerplante vir verskillende skoenlappers word gevind verkieslik met larwes en al en aangeplant. Dit het hom drie jaar geneem om skoenlappers in die La Lucia bos in Oos-Kaap te vestig nadat gifstowwe die bevolding uitgeroei het.

Iets waaroor hy baie sterk voel, is die teel en uitbuiting van die skoenlapper vir winsbejag. 'n Nuwe foefie is deesdae die teel van skoenlappers vir troues. "Ek verskaf ook skoenlappers vir troues, maar die skoenlappers word net vrygelaat waar hulle natuurlik voorkom. Teen sowat R12 per skoenlapper, betaal die koper inderdaad vir die hervestiging van broodnodige spesies in die spesifieke gebied. Daar is egter praktyke in veral Gauteng waar die skoenlappers geteel word teen soveel as R35 per skoenlapper en dan met 'n kleurstof ingespuit word kort voordat hulle op die geleentheid vrygelaat word. Dis wreed en oneties, maar daar word niks aan gedoen nie.

"My grootste wens is om Suid-Afrikaanse skoenlapperversamelaars te oortuig om hul stokperdjies te beoefen met die oog op bewaring en nie vir winsbejag en prestige nie. En om die gemeenskap op te voed om ons veelkleurige insekvriende na hul tuine terug te lok. Is daar 'n mooier gesig as 'n tuin vol vrolike skoenlappers?" Hy sal graag eendag weer 'n huis wil he. Wanneer sy skoenlapperplaas gevestig en sy skoenlappers se voortbestaan verseker is. Kontak die skoenlapperplaas by (039) 314 9307.

News article: Butterfly Sanctuary attracts rare species
Butterfly sanctuary attracts rare species. Two rare butterfly species flutter in the valley. Indrani Naicker reports

Butterfly Sanctuary owner, Earle Whitley's dream is becoming a reality in Ramsgate. His next mission is for his sanctuary to be the center of butterfly research in Africa. Two rare species of butterfly have already been spotted in the valley and, hopefully, more will be seen there. The Butterfly Valley Conservancy, which was established last month, was launched at the Butterfly Sanctuary last Tuesday. This conservancy comprises about 40 hectare of land on either side of the Little Ibilanholo River from the estuary mouth to about four kilometers inland. Some of the main objectives for the conservancy are to protect and improve the environment by planting indigenous trees and controlling alien vegetation. KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife conservation officer, Pieter Massyn, said, "The Butterfly Valley Conservancy is mainly an urban conservancy and contains significant farmland which requires a group of people with common interest and objectives to make it a success."

David Halle, chairman of the Ivungu River Conservancy discussed the importance of support for the conservancy and hoped that the Butterfly Valley Conservancy was as successful as the Ivungu River Conservancy. "The establishment of this conservancy will help to conserve the pristine environment, enhance the value of property in the valley, improve security issues and fight alien invaders," said supporters of this project, farm landowner, Ken Gaze and municipal landowner, Bill Ross-Adams. The community is welcome to become members of this conservancy. The Butterfly Valley Conservancy is also looking for a logo. Everyone is invited to enter a competition being run in this regard. Entry forms are available at the Butterfly Sanctuary.

Photo (left): Eco-boffin One of the speakers at the Butterfly Valley Conservancy launch
at the Butterfly Sanctuary is KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife Conservation officer, Piet Massyn.

Photo (right): Papillon praiser Owner of the Butterfly Sanctuary in Ramsgate, Earle Whiteley, addresses guests at the launch of the Butterfly Valley Conservancy, Ramsgate last Tuesday.

News article: Butterflies highlight need for conservation
Members of the Butterfly Valley Conservancy are determined to protect the Mvutshini Valley after two unusual butterflies were identified there. Judi Davis Reports

Two noteworthy creatures found in the Mvutshini Valley in Ramsgate recently have proved that the conservancy, formed to protect the beautiful valley, has been well named. The newly formed Butterfly Valley Conservancy is lobbying for the protection of the Mvutshini Valley, a valuable green wedge of largely indigenous vegetation on the heavily developed Hibiscus Coast.

Members chose the name because the butterfly sanctuary is situated in the valley. Now they have discovered that a rare and an unusual butterfly have made the valley their home. The Ramsgate piper officially goes by the Latin name, Eurytela hiarbas angustata, form vashti. Found only in the Mvutshini Valley, it is one of the world's rarest butterflies.

It has previously only been found in two locations in South Africa. In 1958 it was collected in Umkomaas. Due to development, the vegetation was destroyed and the colony disappeared. Now this rare form only appears to breed at three sites in the Mvutshini Valley. The local colony was discovered in 2000. Only 18 specimens, 17 from the valley, have ever been collected. The local ones have been used in a special breeding programme for rare and endangered butterflies at the Conservation of Butterflies in South Africa, situated in the center of the valley.

Specimens have been sent to Potchefstroom University entomologist, Professor Reiner Terblanche. He has pointed out that the area in which the butterfly is found has great biological significance and has recommended that the valley be protected to prevent the extinction of the butterfly. The total population of the three sites in the valley is about 45 butterflies. Unlike other butterflies, the shy Ramsgate piper doesn't come out to play in the sun but prefers to stay well hidden in the densely forested areas. Instead of nectar, it feeds on fermenting fruit. Its host plant is a stinging nettle, found near the edge of the Mvutshini river.

Members of the conservancy are concerned about a proposed development in the valley. The development is planned for a site in the flight path of the butterfly, which could threaten the butterfly's survival. A second butterfly has also caused a stir. Butterfly experts were thrilled to see the emperor swallowtail or Princeps ophidicephalus flying down the Butterfly Valley recently. It was caught by Earle Whiteley and placed in his butterfly sanctuary in the valley. A female, it has already started laying eggs.

The largest butterfly in Africa, the emperor swallowtail grows up to 12 cm across, from wingtip to wingtip. Rarely seen on the South Coast, it usually occurs in Zululand and in the valleys of the Drakensberg foothills. It is a rain forest species and an altitudinal migrant, coming down wooded valleys in the early summer months. The female finds the host plant in dense forest.

News article: Ramsgate's own butterfly declared a new species

The Ramsgate Piper, a butterfly discovered in the Butterfly Valley Conservancy in Ramsgate, is causing excitement in scientific circles. Originally considered merely a form of an existing species, it has now been recognized as brand new species in its own right. Jerry Gosnell, a spokesman for the conservancy, said an internationally renowned lepidopterist (butterfly expert) from Kenya, Steve Collins, had been dispatched to Ramsgate to take a look at the butterfly.

After visiting Earle Whiteley of the Butterfly Sanctuary, Mr Collins had confirmed that Ramsgate had its very own new species of butterfly, said Mr Gosnell. The Ramsgate Piper, originally given the Latin name Eurytela hiarbas angustata f. vashti, has been renamed Eurytela vashti in honour of its new status. Mr Whiteley has agreed to describe the new species jointly with Professor Reinier Terblacnhe of Potchefstroom University. Prof Terblanche has strongly recommended that the area in which the Ramsgate Piper lives be conserved at all costs.

'The forests of Southern KwaZulu-Natal and the adjacent grassland patches harbour a number of butterflies that one does not encounter anywhere else along the African coast or in the rest of the world. 'What is left of this fine part of the coast should be conserved. Corridors to conserve the dwindling bush ad its fauna in KwaZulu-Natal are also needed for the continued existence of the area's three unique butterflies as ell as other organisms,' said Prof Terblanche.

Mr Gosnell said it was hoped that Prof Terblanche and Mr Collins would talk about the Ramsgate Piper and its importance to science, at a public meeting in Ramsgate.

News article: Coastal butterfly war brews
By Glen Dewey

The discovery of a previously unrecorded species of butterfly in a pristine valley in Ramsgate, on the KwaZulu-Natal lower South Coast, ahs thrilled the scientific world and sparked urgent calls for the protection of the area. But an air of gloom prevails among environmentalists regarding the discovery, as the whole of the Mvutshini Valley has been zoned for development by the Hibiscus Coast Municipality.

The butterfly, whose scientific name is Eurytela hiarbas angustata, form vashti, was discovered by Earle Whiteley, who was instrumental in registering the Butterfly Valley Conservancy in the Mvutshini Valley earlier this year. Wall-to-wall development in the valley would certainly sound the death knell for the new species - named the Ramsgate Piper - and at least two other extremely rare breeds of butterfly.

Environmentalists have vowed to oppose a plan to develop an upmarket residential unit project, on the bank of the estuary of the Little Ibilanhlolo River, which runs through the valley. Developer Guy Papazogalou, however, said: "I must emphasize that this development is being very carefully planned to be of an environmentally friendly nature.

"My views on this issue were aptly summed up earlier this month by Dumisane Makhaye, KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture and Environment Minister, (who), called this a 'not in my backyard' attitude clothed in a 'sacred' environmental skin. Prof Reinier Terblanche, of Potchefstroom University's School of Environmental Sciences and Development, has said that Mvutshini Valley, should be conserved "at all costs". Cathy Kay, Wildlife and Environment Society of Southern Africa National Director of Conservation, says Papazoglou's planned development will be the end of the newly discovered Ramsgate Piper.

The only flight path established for the Ramsgate Piper is along the north bank of the river down to the beach then along the coastal bush towards the Mpenjati Nature Reserve. This flight path will be blocked by the proposed river mouth development, with devastating effects.

Environmentalists are railing against planned developments in a valley on the South Coast, following the discovery there of a new species of butterfly (above), name the Ramsgate Piper.

News article: Butterflies’ Ramsgate home is soon to be upgraded

Just tow months after its official opening, plans are underway to make the Butterfly Sanctuary the biggest in Africa. Recently, a tour was conducted by Chantall Meyer, Schenelle Bester and Craig Harper-Ronald through the sanctuary in Ramsgate. They all spoke about different topics, ranging form the kinds of plants that attract butterflies, to the dome where they are kept and the breeding area. East Coast Radio disc jockey, Makhosi Khoza, was among the visitors. “We want to extend our dome by 24 metres over the river and 50 metres along the river. When completed, we will have the largest butterfly dome in Africa”, said Schenelle Bester of the sanctuary.

Caption: Butterfly world During a recent visit to the Butterfly Sanctuary Schenelle Bester (left) shows Nqobisile Msomi of Hibiscus Coast Tourism some of the butterflies

News article: Flutter over the future of rare butterfly species
(By Brett Horner)

Right: Butterfly expert Earle Whiteley, who is parrying queries about the legitimacy of his discovery.

A South Coast developer has been accused of trying to discredit the discovery of a rare butterfly in the latest round of a two-year squabble over a luxury-housing block. Earle Whiteley of the Ramsgate Butterfly Sanctuary objected to a five-unit, three-storey upmarket development on the Ibilanhlolo River in Ramsgate, arguing the building would have led to the demise of the Ramsgate Piper butterfly he said he discovered in 2001.

According to Whiteley, only three small colonies of the butterfly exist along the banks of the river in the Mvutshini Valley and he was concerned their natural flight path would be hampered by the building. He said if the males were unable to reach mates in the other colonies, this would weaken the gene pool and kill off the species in time. His concerns were addressed in a meeting last month with the developer, Guy Papazoglou, who agreed to redesign the building to leave a 20m-wide strip of foliage intact on the water’s edge for the butterflies to use.

But a week later, Whiteley was alarmed to learn that Papazoglou was “going behind my back” and approaching experts in the field to verify whether it is a species. “We had this agreement, so why were they going behind my back to try to discredit it? He’s basically not concerned about the butterfly.” As a result, Whiteley said he had endured “sleepless nights” in trying to speed up the classification process of the butterfly, which he said was completed last week. “The race was on to get it classified before they began developing.”

He explained that any new specimen needs to be thoroughly described, detailed and registered for it to be recognized. Without this recognition, Whiteley said the developer’s could have reneged on their agreement and reverted to earlier plans, sounding the death knell for the Ramsgate Piper.

Whiteley said Papazoglou’s intentions were exposed in an email sent by one of his assistants, Lorinda Mynhardt, to the director of the African Butterfly Center, Steve Collins. Questioning whether the species was new or endemic to the valley, Mynhardt referred to documents which showed there were “a lot of unverified and unsubstantiated claims’ regarding the validity of the discovery. “Could it be that it was released into the valley (from somewhere else)?” she asked.

In his response, Collins confirmed a number of authorities had verified the discovery and he hailed it as a remarkable event. “I’m not sure what you interest is in this discovery; you sound somewhat skeptical about the initiative,” Collins replied. “This discovery would be equivalent to a zoologist (identifying) a new mammal species for South Africa, or to a botanist a new tree species.” Despite this support, Whiteley is still worried Papazoglou will not honour their gentlemen’s agreement and challenges him to “put his money where his mouth is” and record it in writing.

Papazoglou was in the spotlight last year when he faced opposition to a set of apartments, called Providence, which he built on a steep bank of the nearby Ibilanhlolo River. Environmentalists insisted he had ignored certain building regulations and the council expressed concerns the property would slide into the river with heavy rains. Papazoglou declined to respond to the latest criticisms.

Left: New kids on the block… or not? A pair of Ramsgate Pipers, whose discovery has been questioned by a developer.

News article: Butterfly dispute over
(By Johan Pretorius)

The dispute between property developers in Ramsgate and conservationists who want to save a rare butterfly, has been amicably resolved. A spokesman for the developers, Robin Petterson, as well as the Chairman of the Butterfly Valley Conservancy, Earle Whiteley, have confirmed to the Fever that the problem has been solved.

The developers of the proposed residential unit project on the north bank of the Little Ibilanhlolo River, also known as the “Little Billy”, has agreed to modify the building plans in order to allow for a corridor through which the rare butterfly can pass on its flight path. The butterfly, reputed to be one of the world’s rarest, is the Eurytela Vashti, or the Ramsgate Piper, as Earle Whitley has dubbed it. It breeds in only three small areas in the Mvutshini Valley, which is a proposed “Green Wedge’ site. The total population, thus far recorded in the valley, is approximately 45. The butterfly’s host plants, Laportea Peduncularis and Ctenmaria Capensis, both stinging nettles, grow along the wedge of the river, and this wedge is extremely important for the survival of the butterfly, which seldom ventures into open and sunlit areas.

The butterfly’s flight path extends along the north bank of the valley down to the beach, and then along the coastal bush towards the Impenjati Reserve at a height of up to 1.5 metres. This is the only established flight path, and the new residential development, as originally planned, would have blocked the flight path. This created an outcry from conservationists, but the changes to the building plans, allowing for the corridor to remain open, have removed the potential problem and ensured the survival of the butterfly.

Earle Whiteley, a fourth generation butterfly expert, has expressed his gratitude to the developers, on behalf of conservationists. “It proves that problems like these can always be solved. Where there is a will, there is a way.” In the meanwhile, Mr. Whiteley is hard at work expanding the butterfly conservancy a little further up in the valley. It already boasts a breeding dome, a display museum, a craft shop and a restaurant. He is at the moment trying to raise money to buy the land on which the Sanctuary is situated, and for this purpose medallions are for sale to the public.

Another innovation is making the conservancy more accessible to the disabled For this purpose a movement called Accessibility and Integration through Conservation in South African has been established as a pilot project At the conservancy this is being handled by Lizanne Hattingh. The Conservancy is open 7 days per week, from 9-4, and interested people can phone (039) 314-9307 or 072 2337264 for more details.

News article: Butterflies helping to save Wild Coast
(By Craig Bishop)

The Save the Wild Coast Campaign took an unexpected turn this week when South Africa’s leading butterfly expert form the Ramsgate Butterfly Sanctuary discovered a possible new species of butterfly near Port St Johns. The as yet unnamed butterfly as discovered in the indigenous forests of Mbotyi last weekend by Conservation of Butterflies in South Africa’s founder, Earle Whiteley, a fourth generation butterfly expert who has already discovered six new butterfly species. Weekend Witness reporter Craig Bishop and photographer Ian Carbutt met up with the team in Mbotyi during the search phase.

Most likely endemic to the Mbotyi forests, the new species is likely to become a rallying point for conservationists determined to preserve the Pondoland center of endemism from unscrupulous developers. It might well end up being named Acraea mbotyi. Whiteley was walking along the road to Mbotyi which winds through the forest when he spotted what he initially thought was a moth.

Then came the shout, “It’s a new butterfly. We must catch it.” It is one of the smallest Acraeas ever caught. Similar to Hyalites (Hyalites) cerasa cerasa, it flies extremely high and seldom comes close to the ground making capture quite difficult. “The height of flight is about between 25 and 40 meters. “The flight pattern is a gentle flutter, at most times resembling a rolling leaf in the breeze among the tree tops, with a return flight pattern of a small day-flying moth with fluttering wings moving upwards,” Whiteley explained.

Butterflies form an invaluable part of the food chain and are major pollinators, especially winter plants. More than that, they are also indicators of eco-system health. The Pondoland centre of endemism and newly proclaimed park is home to many undiscovered species, Whiteley said and should be protected. “It is very exciting,” he said, adding that a new butterfly-breeding programme in Ramsgate not only promises to secure the future of butterfly species but also impress upon local communities the value of butterflies and their habitats. “He’ll break his neck to catch a butterfly,” said his wife, Lizanne, who admitted to being transformed into a butterfly fanatic after marrying Earle.

There will be a social evening for Sanctuary members on Thursday, October 6. Earle Whiteley will provide a talk on the new development of the Butterfly Sanctuary and other field trips, to be accomplished during the remainder of the year. A meal will be provided by CBISA at a cost of R20 per person. Should you prefer to have drinks, the meals and drinks will be provided at a cost of R50 per person. The venue is the Butterfly Sanctuary in the small restaurant now called “The Cave”. Time will be form 5.45pm till late. (The restaurant only sits 20 people, with only five tables. Visitors who want to book will only be able to do so through the net on our website, on the email address of where all menus are provided. Bookings can be made, using the email address.)

There is also space for six school children to come and work during the holidays at the Butterfly Sanctuary in Ramsgate. Phone Lizanne Whiteley on 039 3149307 for dates and the necessary arrangements. The Sanctuary is now providing a question corner, where members may ask questions that will be answered by the editor of this newsletter. Questions should be addressed to the editor, P.O. Box 599, Ramsgate, 4285 or

Picture Right: (From left) Reiner Terblanch, from the university of Potchefstroom and Dr David Edge (right) from the Brenton Blue Butterfly in Knysna congratulate Earle Whiteley on his discovery of Eurytela vashti, a new species he discovered in Ramsgate several years ago.

Other News Flashes

26 May 2012, CBISA held a workshop in Pretoria at Edu Excellence School. In attendance were prospective butterfly breeders from Gauteng, with the aim of learning more about breeding and the necessity thereof. AgriTV as well as Landbousake covered the workshop and aired this coverage on several TV programs within 3 months of the workshop.


CBISA invites new individuals who come across this website to become members of this unique Non Profit Company (NPC). The offer is open to you - to assist wherever you feel it is within your capability to do so. There is a membership fee of R250 per month. This membership allows you to take advantage of this website presented by CBISA - which covers a very wide spectrum of all the existing and future planned projects of CBISA as well as allowing you some opportunity to become involved in them - should they be of interest to you. A monthly newsletter is automatically provided for your benefit.

Contact Details: Office: Cell: 074 422 5587 ~ Click Here Membership Application Form

From Our Gallery

Welcome to S.A Butterflies

A place for rare butterflies to be and to be protected as they are extremely rare. Only a few have ever been caught - but through our breeding program we have been able to breed over one hundred and have released them back into the wild. Thanks to the dedication of a few who cared for their survival - a very rare butterfly - has been described.