Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

June 21, 2014

Schaus Survival

The magnificent and critically Endangered Schaus Swallowtail Butterfly
Photo credit: Dr. Emmel UF Zoology

Yes, it is only a butterfly, an insect, but the engaging and endearing story of this particular butterfly is the kind of stuff that Hollywood loves to drool over.
The  Schaus  Swallowtail  was  the first Butterfly, the first insect, to be put on the Endangered Species list in 1984.
This huge, magnificent five-inch Butterfly was once plentiful all over the Upper Keys and even Miami.
But, then with the advent of massive and widespread herbicide and pesticide use to eliminate mosquitos, sound familiar, its numbers took a complete nosedive.
In 2012, only a scarce few were found and Florida Biologists went into panic mode to stop the free fall.
Enter the UF Team  to the rescue.
This week, six of them were brought down and released into Biscayne National Park.
So far 45 of them have been released.
Other steps have been taken to help in the recovery of the Schaus, invasive plants and trees were removed and those that are native to the butterfly like torchwood and lime,  were put back.
This is not rocket science, this is finally doing what is right for something that we, Humans have nearly wiped off the face of the Earth with our callous, careless actions and total disregard for animal life.
Butterflies are not the only victims of our very bad behavior, there are so many other similar stories with others who have suffered at our hands.
Some have even gone extinct now, thanks to us.
Lastly, it is my extreme pleasure to introduce you to the primary saviors of this stunning Butterfly:
Dr. Thomas Emmel  and  Jaret Daniels  from the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity
at the University of Florida at Gainesville.
Studying Butterflies has occupied the majority of these two dedicated Biologists life time of work.
In closing,  may I recommend a trip to the  University of Florida Natural History Museum on the grounds of the school with its  vast assortment of fossils  and plethora of exhibits and displays.
Then you should continue your day of wonder and discovery by walking right next door to the  Butterfly Rainforest.
A visit to this impressive facility will be a never to be forgotten adventure for those of any age.
Come see what makes this place the state of Florida’s best  non beach, non amusement park,   attraction.
It truly is a  Natural Wonder.

Places to learn more:
Endangered butterflies released in park
Endangered Schaus’ Swallowtail Butterfly Release in Biscayne National Park
Schaus Swallowtail Butterflies Released Into Biscayne National Park
Endangered butterflies released in park

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