THE MINNESOTA ZOO BREED AND RELEASE PROGRAM

For five years in a row now, the Minnesota Zoo has released the endangered species of butterfly, called the Dakota Skipper, into the wild.

This year, the butterflies will be released at Hole-In-The-Mountain and Altona wildlife management areas, which are located in southwest Minnesota, and are managed by the DNR.

The Butterflies used to be very prominent on the prairies in the state of Minnesota, and have seen their prairie land disappear by approximately 75%.

The Minnesota Zoo is the only place that has been breeding and reintroducing the butterfly to the wild, and finally had confirmation this year that indeed, the little flying creatures are starting to breed on their own in the wild.

Photo by Robert P Dana dnr.state.mn.us

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DAKOTA SKIPPER POPULATION?

According to information from Minnesota DNR, the Dakota Skipper loves the prairie land, and prairie lands have turned into agricultural lands, which means, that land is no longer suitable for the Dakota Skipper to live in. Before agriculture in our are, this little flyer was seen all over the prairies, but there is no evidence that suggests a re created habitat will suit them. They are totally dependent on the prairie lands, and so that's the locations they are being released. It appears that where they live, even though they don't have the prairie land they used it, when they can find it, they thrive and do very well.

The Dakota Skipper was listed as "A threatened species" back in 1984. Then in 2013, that changed to endangered species. In 2014, the US Fish and WIldlife Service listed it as 'Federally threatened."

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