NEWS
LIFESTYLE
FUNNY
WHOLESOME
INSPIRING
ANIMALS
RELATIONSHIPS
PARENTING
WORK
SCIENCE AND NATURE
About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy
© GOOD Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Man uses his own backyard to single-handedly save endangered butterfly species

Man creates a butterfly garden in his backyard to save a butterfly species from being completely wiped out from San Francisco.

Man uses his own backyard to single-handedly save endangered butterfly species
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Ella Wei

Every effort, small or big, matters in the big picture. Tim Wong became a living example of it when he single-handedly brought back a butterfly from the brink of extinction, as reported by Vox. The butterfly in question is a California pipevine swallowtail or Battus philenor hirsuta. As Putah Creek Council shared, the issue of the butterfly's extinction has been on the horizon for a long time. The biggest cause behind the problem was the butterflies laying their eggs on the wrong plants, such as Elegant Dutchman's pipe. These plants act as a deathtrap to the species and kill them with starvation. It caused Wong to take action and alter his backyard to create a safe haven for the species.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @timtast1c


 

The California pipevine swallowtail is a collectors' favorite all over the world. But today, they are rarely visible. Apart from incompatible plants, development also slowly chipped away at its habitat. Wong, an avid butterfly lover, after knowing the condition of the species began to look into the problem. He soon understood that in order to repopulate the species, he needed the species' host plant — the California pipevine or Aristolochia californica.



 

"What I learned is that a lot of our native butterflies have really tight relationships with native plants and some types of butterflies may only feed on one native plant," Wong told meteorologists Stephanie Abrams and Jordan Steele, as reported by GoodGoodGood. Thus, he began to find the host plant and luckily located it in the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park. The officials allowed him to take some clippings of the plant back home with him.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @timtast1c


 

Then, Wong began creating his butterfly garden in his backyard. He shared his preparation, "[I built] a large screen enclosure to protect the butterflies and to allow them to mate under outdoor environmental conditions — natural sun, airflow, temp fluctuations," per Vox. He had the enclosures in place to protect butterflies from predators and enhance their mating opportunities. It also served as a great site to understand what female butterflies look for in the host plant. Such data helped in putting the right plants in place for the butterflies.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @timtast1c


 

Once he built the backyard to his satisfaction, Wong went in pursuit of California pipevine swallowtails. He ended up collecting 20 of them from outside the city. "They feed as a little army," Wong explained to Vox. "They roam around the Pipevine plant from leaf to leaf, munching on it as a group." The caterpillars first pupate and then form a chrysalis. The duration for which they remained in the chrysalis differed from one caterpillar to another. Some stayed inside for weeks, while some did it for years. After they hatched, Wong made sure to have a watchful eye over them as they laid eggs on the Pipevine plants. In this way, new caterpillars enter the environment and the cycle goes on. After raising them at home, he brings them back to the San Francisco Botanical Garden's "California Native" exhibit.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @timtast1c


 

It is the first time a conservationist has managed to achieve something like this in San Francisco. In the 1980s, an attempt was made by a woman named Barbara Deutsch, but it failed after a few years. Wong hopes that his story brings a much-needed spotlight on the condition of these butterflies. "Improving habitat for native fauna is something anyone can do," Wong said. "Conservation and stewardship can start in your very own backyard."

More Stories on Scoop