Updated: Jun 8
It's Firefly season in Maharashtra, but should you join a firefly event?
Here are snippets of an article published in the TOI last month about the environmental threat to the same fireflies that these events promote.
What the TOI article says
Dr Madhukar Bachulkar, a renowned botanist from Kolhapur, said, “The heavy turnout of visitors takes a toll on local biodiversity. The night-time use of torchlight, flashlight, cameras as well as loud music and noise disturbs the firefly mating ritual. The administration should put a ban on such festivals immediately. Otherwise, we will take the help of the court to stop them.”
“There are several species of fireflies and they produce intermittent light. The light flashes in patterns that are unique to each species. Each blinking pattern is an optical signal that helps the fireflies find their potential mates. The females deposit the eggs on the ground, which is where the larvae develop to adulthood. Now, if people visit such breeding grounds in large numbers, then the chances of the eggs, the larvae and the females laying the eggs getting trampled increases. This accounts for the drop in the number of fireflies,” added Bachulka
“Over the years, the count of fireflies has been reducing and this has been indirectly affecting the grass that the fireflies consume. Even other predators that eat fireflies are affected. The entire food chain is disturbed,” he said and added that changing rainfall patterns, deforestation, and global warming are also responsible for depleting the firefly population.
Our opinion is that with no clear SOPs issued by the govt & unregulated mass tourism, these events are only detrimental to the environment.
We've seen popular firefly destinations like Rajmachi & Bhandardara forever swamped with people & vehicles. The chances that you may be joining a responsibly hosted firefly experience are extremely slim. We do not want to take away credit from operators that may be hosting responsibly, but at the moment, we are aware of no operator that is hosting a firefly experience entirely responsibly.
If you really do want to see fireflies, call up the operator and ensure that
1. The experience is hosted responsibly in all aspects
2. The experience hosts individuals within a range of 10 max. Fewer the better.
3. The operator will not tolerate music, flashlights & noisy people.
4. Movement at the site is limited in order to ensure people are not trampling over larvae or the female bugs
We've never hosted a firefly experience because in no way do we want to contribute in any way to damaging their life cycle. We are aware that ensuring people stay quiet and consistently conscious during such an experience can be difficult to manage, so we've chosen to completely stay clear of.
If you know of a responsible operator, do let us know in the comments below so that we tag them in this post and send peeps their way.
Disclaimer: Our purpose of this or similar posts on responsible outdoor tourism is not to bring down any operator that already faces a tough time sustaining in the difficult segment of the tourism industry. We simply find it our duty to bring topics such as this to the fore, create conversation but most importantly create awareness about such topics that we find no one else talking about. It would be wrong for us to withhold what we know, especially if its largely bad for the environment.
Check out our responsibly hosted experiences here.