First Group of Endangered Butterflies Hatches in Prison

BELFAIR, Wash. – The butterfly rearing program at Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women is taking off – literally.

After weeks of careful handling and scientific documentation, the first endangered Taylor’s Checkerspot butterflies have emerged from their cocoons and are ready to take flight to a new habitat.

Offenders at Mission Creek raise the butterfly to prevent it from being listed under the federal Endangered Species Act which would halt operations at a Joint Base Lewis-McChord artillery range where their current habitat is.

The inmate technicians are taking copious notes and have made the program something to be proud of – Mary Linders, a biologist at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Linders said the program has doubled the capacity for raising the butterflies and that the first group should be ready for flight sometime in April.

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