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Man Single-Handedly Repopulates Rare Butterfly Species in His Own Backyard

The California pipevine swallowtail is considered by many experts to be one of the most magnificent butterflies in North America, but the massive development around San Francisco has caused it to slowly disappear. However, one man’s DIY conservation efforts are bringing this beautiful creature back.

Tim Wong, a young aquatic biologist at the California Academy of Sciences, spends his free time raising butterflies, a hobby he fell in love with as a young boy. “I first was inspired to raise butterflies when I was in elementary school,” Wong told VOX.com. “We raised painted lady butterflies in the classroom, and I was amazed at the complete metamorphosis from caterpillar to adult.” Tim used to spend his days in the open meadows outside his home catching, raising and breeding any butterflies he found.

When he got older and learned about the pipevine swallowtail becoming increasingly rare in the San Francisco are, Wong made it his goal to do something about it. Researching the species, he found that while in caterpillar form, it feeds only on a single plant – the California pipevine – which, he realized, had become equally rare around San Francisco.

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