APPLE VALLEY, Minnesota (AP) – The Minnesota Zoo is working to save endangered butterfly species native to the state but facing severe population declines.
The Dakota Skippers and the Poweshiek Skipperlings are both rapidly declining native species that zoo officials aim to help, KARE-TV reported on Friday.
“So when we hear the word ‘endangered species’ we often think of distant species,” said Cale Nordmeyer, zoo butterfly conservation specialist. “The Dakota Skippers and the Poweshiek Skipperling, really, we’re in yard mode. So species like the Poweshiek Skipperling, maybe a global population – there are less than 150 animals left. And right now, we have about a third of them at the Minnesota Zoo. “
Nordmeyer said it was crucial not to lose the species forever.
“We’re very close to what’s going on,” Nordmeyer said. “Butterflies like the Poweshiek Skipperling and the Dakota Skippers at one time represented some of the most numerous butterflies in the Minnesota prairies. With the decline of the prairies we have also seen a decline in these species and they are declining at a rapid rate, if we do not intervene we will simply lose them.
Nordmeyer spends his time behind the scenes at the Minnesota Zoo as part of a conservation program.
“It’s the most rewarding part of my career,” said Nordmeyer. “We did this to bring them back to the wild.”
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