Skip to main content

Minnesota Zoo to release 700 endangered butterflies into the wild

The zoo will release Dakota skipper butterflies into the wild for the fifth year this week.
MNZoo_Newly emerged Dakota skipper atop release box

The Minnesota Zoo will release around 700 endangered butterflies into the wild this week.

As part of Pollinator Week at the zoo, the zoo’s butterfly conservation team, along with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy, will release Dakota skipper butterflies into the wild.

This year marks the fifth year the zoo has released the butterflies. It is also the first year the butterflies will be released on state-managed lands.

The release will take place at Hole-in-the-Mountain and Altona wildlife management areas in southwest Minnesota, which are managed by the DNR.

The Minnesota Zoo’s program is the only one of the world to rear, breed and reintroduce the Dakota skippers back into the wild. The butterflies, once prominent in Minnesota’s prairies, have seen their range disappear by more than 75%.

Last year was the first year of the reintroduction efforts that it was confirmed the butterflies were repopulating on their own.

“These little butterflies have big stories to tell,” said Erik Runquist, Minnesota Zoo Butterfly Biologist, in a statement.

“Helping these butterflies return to our prairies helps support other pollinators, wildlife, and our quality of life. Our hope is that we can continue to build on successes and re-establish populations throughout the Hole-in-the-Mountain region.” 

Next Up

Eggs at Hy-Vee

Price comparison: How much do eggs cost at Twin Cities grocery stores?

Prices have been spiking, so where can you find the cheapest eggs?

KwonFloodFOX9

FOX 9 promotes Hannah Flood to anchor, adds new reporter

Hannah Flood will co-anchor mornings while Se Kwon joins the team.

Carjacking pursuit in Little Canada

Watch: Suspects drive wrong-way on I-35E, before carjacking separate vehicles

The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office said the suspects are still at large.

RestaurantFireSTP

St. Paul restaurant damaged in Sunday night fire

The fire department said the fire is considered to be "accidental."

Lake Superior.

MPCA: Minnesota's emissions fell by 23% between 2005 and 2020

Clean energy investments have driven the decline.

Dave Durenberger

Former U.S. Senator for Minnesota Dave Durenberger dies at 88

Durenberger served two terms before his disgraceful exit in the mid-1990s.

Screen Shot 2023-01-31 at 10.17.33 AM

Two new breweries join Minneapolis, St. Paul downtowns

There are new spots in North Loop and Lowertown.

driver's license

'Driver's Licenses For All' bill passes Minnesota House, heads to Senate

It would allow Minnesotans to obtain it without needing proof of legal presence in the U.S.

Related

Endangered dhole pups at the Minnesota Zoo

Zoo officials say the Asian wild dogs were born April 12 and 14, but an exact count is still unknown. The dhole pups are expected to spend more time outside their den in the coming weeks at the Apple Valley zoo.

MNZoo_Luka

Meet Luka, the Minnesota Zoo's new Amur tiger

The zoo's newest addition arrived just weeks after another Amur tiger died unexpectedly.