Researchers to Release Endangered Florida Butterflies

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) -- Some rare butterflies are set to be released on an island in Biscayne National Park.

Researchers are scheduled to release some Schaus' swallowtail butterflies Monday on Elliot Key.

The butterflies are only found on one island in the park. In 2012, officials began a captive breeding program to help save the butterfly from extinction.

A similar program begun just before Hurricane Andrew swept away much of its habitat is credited with saving the butterfly once. Thousands were released, but the population dwindled over the next two decades. Only handfuls of Schaus swallowtails have been seen in the wild recently.

The Schaus swallowtail is large and yellow with a stained-glass pattern on its lower wings. It was once found from the Middle Keys north through Miami,

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