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Butterflies of Karura forest, Nairobi, Kenya

Community and ForumBlogButterflies of Karura forest, Nairobi, Kenya

Lev Bely, 25.06.2012 21:27

There is an amazing place near Nairobi, the capital of Kenya — Karura forest recently opened to visitors. Kenyan photographer Karue Wachira made pictures of the forest butterflies, which can be seen today at The Butterflies of Karura Forest 2012 exhibition at the KFEET Centre.

Once Karura forest was a tasty morsel for quarrelling politicians and investors, but now it's a beautiful place for rest, walks and watching spectacular African animals which feel good and stay here cool, though it's not that far from the city centre.

Karue Wachira, intentionally or not, chose butterflies which undergo a set of transformations just as Karura forest did. Now it's cared for and nice to look at, whilst in its past the forest sheltered Mau-Mau rebels struggling for independence, either was itself an object of struggle between authorities and professor Wangari Maathai which finally succeeded to save it from the illegal deforestation, or even was a “shrine” for local gang bands and their hideous executions. Lately, a diplomat's wife got to re-establish Karura and eventually the forest was changed to a proper educational centre with tourists trails and rest areas.

One day Karue Wachira came here. Looking for butterflies he circled around the forest about 10 km, while there are actually all 50 km of trails. The good shot might take patience and a long wait, even for hours. Butterflies tend to fly away when disturbed with a slightest movement, and you have to start off all the thing again.

“I had to hang around for a long time for them to gain trust on me,” he says. “I realised if someone stayed calm in the butterfly’s environment, the butterflies would comfortably sit on them.” He took lots of photos in such moments, yet they're not part of the exhibition.

The exhibition displays 11 butterfly species which were identified for Karue in The National Museums of Kenya (NMK). There are such as a bright orange spotted Common Leopard (Phalanta phalantha), a lemon yellow Common Dotted Border (Mylothris agathina), its wings look like they're stamped with black on the edge, and a contrast Narrow Green Banded Swallowtail (Papilio nireus) with black wings ornated with longwise stripes of sky blue.

Karue's primary idea was to make a calendar, yet it wasn't produced as he finished shooting in March, apparently too late. Then he applied to Friends of Karura Forest, a Community Forest Association (CFA), where he was already known, and the association gladly offered him to arrange a photo exhibition.

The Butterflies of Karura Forest 2012 as other exhibitions of the kind, is not merely about butterflies, but the bit of special human attention that the nature lacks much. Karanja Njoroge, the association chairman, wrote in the comment book at the exhibition: “Incredible photography! Amazing beauty unnoticed by a busy eye. Hongera bwana Karue, I will keep one for myself.”

The exhibition will run until June 30 at the KFEET Centre, Nairobi.

Standard Digital,, Friends of Karura Forest,

Photo: Narrow Green Banded Swallowtail P. nireus, Karue Wachira,

Butterflies of Kenya

All the rest posts on: Африка, выставка, искусственные бабочки, личный опыт

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