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FAQ on Bring Back The Endangered Yellow Birdwing Project
1. Why are the Yellow Birdwings endangered in Penang?
They are endangered because there are not enough host plants in Penang to sustain them. Just like many other wildlife, the butterflies habitat have been destroyed or replaced by residential homes, factories, climate change, forest disturbance, etc.
2. Who can participate in this project?
Schools and learning institutions are the most suitable entities to participate in this project in Penang. Such a project needs plenty of attention, time, commitment and dedication. The project also plays an educational role in growing the awareness among the young and the public therefore learning centres are encouraged to participate as long they are able to provide to the long term needs of the project.
FAQ on the Yellow Birdwing, Butterflies, Caterpillars, etc.
1. What's the lifespan of the Yellow Birdwing?
The Yellow Birdwing's lifespan from the day it hatches from an egg, is roughly about 2 months.
2. Are the Yellow Birdwing caterpillars poisonous? Is it okay to touch them?
Most caterpillars contain a certain amount of "poison" in some way including the Yellow Birdwing caterpillars, but they are not harmful to humans as long we do not eat them. The poison are meant to give birds and its predators a bad taste or unpleasant ingestion experience. It is believed most caterpillars obtain its poison from their host plant - which can be poisonous too. But most of the time, the amount of poison in most caterpillars are less harzardous than or little compared to some household washing liquids. Yet, that being said, there are some caterpillars which are very very poisonous and we should avoid any contact with them. We usually avoid touching hairy caterpillars as some can cause itchiness. If you don't know what caterpillar / species it is or its poison level, then prevention is the best policy and wash your hands after having contact with them.
FAQ on the Butterfly Host Plant - Aristolochia tagala, etc.
1. What is the status of the Aristolochia tagala?
In Penang, it is no longer easily found or seen.
2. How easy is it to cultivate and propogate this plant?
Firstly, it's not easy. The plant which grows slowly if on its own in the wild, needs plenty of care, water and enough sunlight. Although it seems to be able to survive well in normal soil conditions, the young may die easily if unattended for a week. The branches and shoots of the vine are also very delicate and a slight twist or knock by accident can also cause it to die. Daily watering without fail is the key to upkeep this plant. Propogation is done without much difficulty through its seeds and stem cuttings.