A young pre-butterfly.

Butterflies to return in zoo program

The Aldergrove-based zoo is helping to breed an endangered local species.

  • Apr. 6, 2016 10:00 a.m.

A breeding program will bring back butterflies.

The Greater Vancouver Zoo is starting a new breeding population, this time for a colourful flying insect.

Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly was once common from Vancouver Island down to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, but its numbers have dwindled, and it is now endangered in Canada.

The orange-and-black butterflies have now disappeared from all but 15 locations around the world, and they are reduced to one known breeding site in Canada, on Denman Island near Comox.

That population has dwindled in recent years, too.

The zoo, based in Aldergrove, is now taking over the captive breeding operations for the butterfly, formerly run by Peter Karsten at a private facility on Denman.

Over the fall, food and plant gardens were established, and butterfly larva are expected soon.

An intern has been hired to work on the Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project through the summer.

 

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