Its natural habitat was in the San Francisco area, but with the urbanization of the 20th century, the species started to slowly disappear, and it became a rare sight.
That’s why, Tim Wong, an aquatic biologist, working at the Academy of Sciences in California decided to repopulate the Pipevine Swallowtail. He remembers that when he was young, the sight of this unique-looking butterfly was a magical moment and one that should be experienced by generations to come too. Wong started by identifying the places in which California pipevine grows, as this is the main source of food for the butterfly.
He found the plant in San Francisco’s Botanical Garden and took a few clippings of it. Then he created a greenhouse in his backyard and an enclosure for the butterflies to keep them protected from predators. He also placed 20 caterpillars into the enclosure and started observing them.
After 6 weeks, they all turned into butterflies and the females started laying eggs, so starting with 2012 Wong noticed an increase in the butterfly population as more and more survived thanks to his garden enclosure.
After the butterflies started to multiply, he also donated some to the Botanical Gardens, slowly managing to reintroduce them to the San Francisco area. Wong believes that the story’s success lies in the fact that he managed to cultivate healthy and pesticide-free pipevine plants in his garden which then triggered the entire process of repopulation.
The butterflies only feed on one plant – the California pipevine, so Wong transplanted it into his yard
Finding ways to protect and conserve rare or endangered species has recently become an even more pressing issue for mankind. Since our planet is going through constant changes, some that might even threaten its existence, it is very important to protect what it’s left of it. For instance, let’s look at the case of the Pipevine Swallowtail of California, which is one of the most beautiful butterflies of North America and can be recognized by its blue-colored wings.
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