Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 12:10PM
Drew Wolfe

Catching Sight Of A Rare Butterfly In A Surprise Refuge

"It's not easy to see the orange and black spotted regal fritillary butterfly if you live in the Eastern U.S. It used to be common across much of the country, and is still found in the Midwest. But it's all but disappeared in the East, its once vast habitat developed, divided and degraded."

"A 2007 federal report found that this now rare butterfly's "decline in the East was so rapid that in many states the regal fritillary had disappeared before it could be listed" as endangered."

"But the species has survived at one unusual refuge, and for a few days every summer hundreds of people join guided tours to get a glimpse."

"Guard training center in central Pennsylvania. They pile into their cars and caravan out to a grassy field. Wildlife biologist Mark Swartz leads them as police direct traffic."

"'It takes a lot of coordination,' he says. 'It occasionally breaks down, and that's when we have problems.'"

"On this day, in fact, Swartz is a bit rattled because the Air Force apparently didn't get the memo. Suddenly he's interrupted by loud noises. 'There—they're shooting,' he says. 'That's a .50 caliber machine gun.'"

Article originally appeared on WorldWideWolfe II (http://drewhwolfe.com/).
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