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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
CARLSBAD: America's Teaching Zoo Contributing to Recovery of  the Palos Verdes Blue Butterfly
Region 8, July 20, 2007

Stephanie Weagley, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office

The Palos Verdes blue butterfly is benefiting from a second captive rearing facility located at America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College, Moorpark, California.  The establishment of this new facility, which became a reality in February 2007, will serve as a vital step towards the future recovery of the butterfly whose home is on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, County, California.  This is the only place where the species is found.

 

In 1980, the butterfly was federally listed as endangered based on threats from development and weed management practices that removed native vegetation including its only known host plant, locoweed.  In 1983 it was thought to be extinct when the habitat supporting the only known population was developed.  Then, much to everyone’s surprise, a population was discovered in 1994 on a previously unknown host plant, deerweed, at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Fuel Support Point in San Pedro, California, providing a second chance to save this species from extinction. It is here, where the first captive rearing facility for the Palos Verdes blue butterfly was established.

 

Various partnerships and cooperative efforts have been formed as a result of this discovery and continue to this day.  The partnerships include the following entities: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Navy, U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, California Department of Fish and Game, The Urban Wildlands Group, Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, and many other local organizations.  Recovery efforts underway include habitat restoration at the Linden H. Chandler Preserve, as well as other areas located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  For example, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes is developing a habitat conservation plan with preserve areas suitable for reintroduction of the butterfly.

 

These cooperative efforts will provide more locations where captive reared butterflies can be released.

 

 

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov