Colorado’s Butterfly Pavilion Weighs in on Insect Population Declines
Butterfly Pavilion experts encourage simple actions to protect invertebrates and their habitats
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Westminster, Colo. – Feb. 20, 2019 – Nearly 40 percent of all insects, the hidden heroes of the animal kingdom, are vulnerable to extinction, according to a new study published in the journal Biological Conservation and making headlines around the world.
“People are asking us if this is cause for alarm,” said Patrick Tennyson, president and CEO of Colorado’s Butterfly Pavilion, the world’s only stand-alone, Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited invertebrate zoo. “The answer is complex – kind of like insects themselves.”
As one of the few institutions focused solely on the state of invertebrates (animals without backbones) Butterfly Pavilion experts say more study is needed on this topic and needs to be done soon to truly answer this question.
“In addition to more research, acting on behalf of insects with a sense of urgency will make a critical difference in the outcome of this story,” said Mary Ann Colley, Butterfly Pavilion’s vice president of Science and Conservation.
Butterfly Pavilion is leading the way in ensuring invertebrates are protected for the future by providing unique, hands-on learning experiences in its exhibits and educational programs, conducting new research that sets the standard for zoos across the country, or building innovative solutions for species and habitat conservation in countries around the world.
“The challenges facing insects have never been greater, but Butterfly Pavilion is working hard to conserve these vitally important members of our environment and restore the balance to nature. There are many things people can do to help us in this work locally, regionally, and globally,” said Richard P. Reading, Ph.D., Butterfly Pavilion’s director of Research and Conservation, who is known for his work on grassland ecosystems in six continents, and has authored or edited eight books, more than 175 scientific papers and book chapters, and dozens of popular articles.
“We look forward to an ever-expanding role in reversing these severe declines in insect populations, working hand in hand with our people everywhere,” he added.
Butterfly Pavilion’s role is already far-reaching with a list of research and conservation projects in the U.S. that includes: Butterfly monitoring, dragonfly and firefly conservation, restoring pollinator habitat, consulting with the Bureau of Land Management on the restoration of coastal dunes, and leading the AZA’s effort to sustain invertebrate species for collections throughout North America.
Butterfly Pavilion also travels the globe to better understand and ultimately help invertebrates. Butterfly Pavilion researchers are working in Mongolia to study native butterflies and their ecology to create a conservation plan for the butterflies and all invertebrates. They are helping mitigate the conflict between humans and elephants in Nepal and Tanzania by installing bee fences to keep elephants from raiding local crops and food stores. And they are working throughout Saudi Arabia to help establish new protected areas and improve the management of existing protected areas in the country. For a full list of projects, visit Butterfly Pavilion’s blog.
Concerned citizens don’t need to a Ph.D. or passport to make a difference. Invertebrate conservation is something people from all walks of life can have an impact on.
“Invertebrate conservation is as simple as practicing clean gardening, recycling or composting,” said Colley. “If you want to take the next step, plant native plants, volunteer to restore pollinator habitat, or join institutions like Butterfly Pavilion and learn more.”
“Butterfly Pavilion will continue to drive conservation efforts and shape the perceptions of future generations of scientists, ecologists, educators and decision makers,” said Tennyson. “Just like the animals we study, Butterfly Pavilion is small but still has an important impact on the world.”
Butterfly Pavilion is open 9am to 5pm daily at 6252 West 104th Avenue in Westminster, Colo. Visit the website at www.butterflies.org.
About Butterfly Pavilion:
Butterfly Pavilion is the world’s only stand-alone, Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited invertebrate zoo dedicated to transforming the way people think about the small but mighty animals that are the hidden heroes of the animal kingdom. As the leader in invertebrate knowledge, inspiration and connection, and as a member institution of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, Butterfly Pavilion works to foster an appreciation of these critical animals by educating the public about the need to protect and care for threatened habitats globally, while conducting research for solutions in invertebrate conservation. Whether it is providing unique, hands-on learning experiences in our exhibits and educational programs, conducting new research that sets the standard for zoos across the country or building innovative solutions for species and habitat conservation in countries around the world, Butterfly Pavilion is leading the way in ensuring invertebrates are protected for the future. Learn more at Butterflies.org.
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