Butterfly Farms


There are many places around the world where butterflies are bred and not caught from the wild. In some of those places we have been directly involved in establishing farms or ranc          hes by teaching people in India, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia and here in Canada. But our latest energies are directed to Indonesia.

Indonesia is a hot bed of insect diversity that comes with the most pristine and vast rain forests behind the Amazon. But: Indonesia’s timber is much sought after globally and hence there is tremendous deforestation taking place on the hundreds of islands throughout the Indonesian archipelago.

Deforestation is the single most destructive force against biodiversity. And there happens to be a group of butterflies that exist on Indonesian islands that are much sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. These butterflies are known as birdwing butterflies as they make a group of the World's largest butterflies found in the neighbouring island groups of Indonesia. They are very beautiful and large. Collectors and enthusiasts from all over the world have been the source of demand for these precious butterflies in their collections.


International efforts placed restrictions on the trade of this group of butterflies to prevent over hunting and help protect the various species from slipping into endangered status. The Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species Act (CITES) has placed all birdwings (Ornithoptera, Troides and Trogonoptera) on the CITES Appendix II list which means their trade is monitored and restricted. The only exception is the world's largest butterfly is the Queen Alexandra's Birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae) of Papua New Guinea. It is listed as an endangered Appendix I species as its flight range is very limited to a small area. It is endangered and commercial trade of this species is prohibited.

The Indonesian government has structured the trade in CITES Appendix II material by allowing local indigenous peoples to raise these restricted species on their jungle land that they live on as a means of making a living for themselves and their tribes. They are however not allowed to sell them to the international market. They can only sell their specimens to certain licensed individuals who are given special government permission to export. Collectors demand perfect quality and this motivates the industry to breed and raise these species on their land instead of catching them with nets. Secondly, these licensed buyers must show their exports to the Indonesian government inspectors to verify that they have been raised in an environmentally conscious manner. This means that wild caught specimens are not permitted to be exported. The government has gone even one step further and implemented a quota system which means that only a certain number of specimens of each species can be exported out of Indonesia each year.

The local families who breed the specimens are guaranteed payment for their work at the moment they sell their material to the licensed buyers who then are able to export them legally. This co-operative that the government of Indonesia has created works very well for providing a meaningful life with dignity for poor tribal jungle peoples of remote places. The butterfly demand is met through a sustainable breeding program. The rain forest areas where these people live is not destroyed but nurtured. Through sustainable development programs like this, the whole world can make a positive difference during a time where there is so much destruction around the world. The biggest challenge for them is that there is a saturated market for certain species of butterflies that they raise. This places a negative force for these farmers to look elsewhere for income.

In order to have a positive impact we motivate locals to leave the land intact and live off of it by raising high demand species without putting further pressure on this already vulnerable biosystem instead of clear cutting their land and selling the timber to the logging industry followed by then converting rainforest land into agricultural monoculture properties.

What The Antennae Foundation aims to do with supporting this industry is to bring these butterflies to mainstream public. We want to educate people world over that it is important to support this industry by buying framed birdwings that have been raised by these families. This will help continue the beauty of this program indefinitely. What we have done is sponsored a number of families and tribes in certain areas that appear to be threatened and we provide the financing of their breeding efforts of these butterflies. This cottage industry depends upon people like you to buy bred specimens from The Antennae Foundation.

By you buying a birdwing butterfly frame from the Antennae Foundation, you are directly helping end poverty in remote areas in Indonesia, while at the same time protecting and conserving rain forest land and most importantly, helping sustain and conserve a vulnerable group of butterflies. We guarantee that all specimens were bred in an environmentally conscious manner and are provided with all necessary permits from both the Indonesian government and the Canadian government. We thank you in advance for your support of this project. Any contribution to The Antennae Foundation small or large goes a long way in helping our world be a better place.