RIO GRANDE VALLEY: Among the many that will be affected by Trump’s border wall are butterflies!
Mission, located in the lower Rio Grande Valley, is home to the National Butterfly Center, a private non-profit 100-acre (40-hectare) preserve dedicated to the conservation of the insects in their natural habitat. But the wall – a key plank of President Donald Trump’s immigration policy – could end up chopping the area in half, and severely complicate any work being done to save the butterflies that flutter through. “This land used to be an onion field,” explains Luciano Guerra, who is responsible for education outreach at the center. “We converted it back to native habitat.
“And when we created the habitat for the butterflies, we also attracted birds because the birds like to eat the butterflies and the caterpillars. Then we attracted things that eat the birds, and so on.” In the end, more than 200 species have been counted here. In spring and autumn, “we can have 80 to 100 species of butterflies here in one day,” Guerra says. Among those are the easily recognizable monarch, with its black and orange wings; the queen butterfly, native to North and South America; and the bright orange passion butterfly.
Along the banks of the Rio Grande, which forms a natural border with Mexico, there are also bobcats, coyotes, javelinas or skunk pigs, armadillos, and Texas turtles. Building a wall here would be “devastating,” the center says on its website. Marianna Trevino Wright, the center’s executive director, traveled to Washington to plead her case with lawmakers. The funding for the part of the wall that would run through the nature preserve – unlike the money at the heart of a political showdown in the US capital – was approved last year.
According to the Center, construction of the 33-mile (50-kilometer) stretch of barrier could begin in late February. Trevino Wright impressed upon lawmakers (mainly Democrats) that the wall project is in violation of multiple environmental protection laws. The wall and the glaring spotlights that would come with it will disrupt the “nocturnal activities of all plants and animals, transforming what is now a vibrant but endangered ecosystem into a biological desert,” she said. “People say, ‘Well, the butterflies can fly over it or fly through it or around it.’ “Not necessarily,” explains Guerra.
“Some butterflies fly lower to the ground – they could not go over that 18-foot concrete wall.” Moreover, “when the bulldozers come in to clear the way for the border wall, they’re going to knock down trees, plants, grasses and so on, which are host plants for the butterfly species we have here,” he added. Those trees also are the home of several species of birds, especially in the spring, and some mammals risk seeing their natural habitat destroyed – or being hit by construction vehicles, Guerra warned.
The center has filed suit against the federal government, claiming their private property rights are being violated. “Chances are the lawsuit will not get heard, will not go to court until after the wall has already been built,” Guerra admitted. He says he is frustrated and believes that Trump is exaggerating the extent of the crisis on the border. “If there was a crisis, I wouldn’t be living here,” he said matter-of-factly.
Mostly cold, dry weather expected
ISLAMABAD: The met office today forecast cold and dry weather in most parts of the country during the next 24 hours.
According to the synoptic situation, a continental air is prevailing over most parts of the country. During the last 24 hours, rain/thunderstorm (with snowfall over hills) occurred at scattered places in Malakand, Hazara, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore divisions, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir, while at a few places in Sargodha division and Islamabad. The weather remained cold and dry elsewhere in the country.
Following rainfalls were recorded in millimeters: Punjab: Murree 32, Hafizabad 20, Mangla 11, MB din, Jhelum 10, Rawalpindi (Chaklala 09, Shamsabad 01), Sialkot(City 07, AP 06),Islamabad(ZP 03, Saidpur 01), Narowal 03, Gujrat 02, Lahore 02, Faislabad 01,Kashmir: Rawalakot, Gari dupatta 33, Muzaffarabad, Kotli 24,Kyber Paktaunkhwan:Pattan 24, Balakot 22, Kakul 17, Mirkhani 10, Malamjabba 05, Chitral 04, Dir(upper 14, lower 03), Drosh 03,Gilgit-Baltistan: Astore 16, Skardu 14, Gilgit 07, Bagrote 05, Bunji, Chillas 03,Snowfall(inch): Skardu 08, Astore 06, Malmjba, Drosh 02, Bagrote 01.
The lowest minimum temperatures were recorded as follow: Kalam -12°C, Kalat -07°C, Parachinar, Bagrote -06°C, Malamjabba -05°C, Skardu, Gupis-04°C, Astore, Quetta, Hunza -03°C, Drosh, Zhob, Chitral & Dir -02°C,Peshawar 05°C, Islambad 05°C,Lahore 08°C.
Agriculture: Start cultivation of bhindi immediately!
FAISALABAD: Agriculture experts have advised the growers to start cultivation of bhindi (okra/ladyfinger) immediately and complete it by end of March to get a bumper crop.
According to the Agriculture Department, the best time for the cultivation of okra crops is mid-February to the end of March.
The growers should also use recommended varieties of okra as these varieties not only have disease resistance but also give maximum production.
Relevant: Punjab Agriculture Minister Malik Nauman Ahmad Langrial said that per acre yield of important crops would increase besides exports due to farmers friendly policies of the incumbent government. He said this addressing the launching of Punjab Agriculture Policy at a local hotel on Wednesday. Unfortunately, in past attention was not paid towards the preparation of comprehensive agriculture policy and for resolving the problems of the farming community, he added. Financial betterment of farmers was the top priority of the incumbent government, he said and added that was why the government had decided to provide beneficial subsidies directly to farmers in the form of cash transfer. The Minister stressed the need for utilizing available water in an appropriate manner and also lauded the steps of the Punjab government for the promotion of modern ways of irrigation. Punjab Agriculture Secretary Wasif Khursheed said all stakeholders had been consulted during the preparation of the agriculture policy and added that USAID experts had also extended assistance in this regard. Under this policy investment and mechanization would get promoted in the agriculture sector, the secretary added. He said in future annual developmental projects would be made in accordance with the agriculture policy guidelines. Wasif Khursheed said, almost development upto 4 to 5 per cent would take place in the agriculture sector with effective implementation of this policy. Provincial Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht and others also spokes on the occasion.
More rains likely from Sunday evening
LAHORE: More rain and thundershowers are expected in Punjab including provincial capital during the next 24 hours as a strong rain-bearing system is likely to enter the country on Sunday evening/night, which would persist till Friday.
In the initial phase, rain is expected at scattered places in Upper Punjab — Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore, Sargodha and Faisalabad divisions, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir on Sunday evening and Monday, according to Met. Office. In the final phase, this weather system is likely to further intensify on Tuesday evening and night and may persist till Friday. The maximum temperature in the provincial capital on Saturday was recorded as 20 degree Celsius.