Look who’s back

De­scen­dants of re­leased monarch but­ter­flies start­ing to re­turn to BBEMA of­fice in Emer­ald

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY COLIN MACLEAN Colin.MacLean@Jour­nalPioneer.com @Jour­nalPMacLean

“It takes a lot of work, but you can take an old, des­o­late, train sta­tion, which is noth­ing but fill seeded with grass, and turn it into a vi­able (monarch) breed­ing ground … and habi­tat that can sus­tain fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.” Tracy Brown

Af­ter four years of hatch­ing, tag­ging and re­leas­ing monarch but­ter­flies at its of­fice in Emer­ald, the Bed­eque Bay En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (BBEMA) is start­ing to see their de­scen­dants re­turn­ing from Mex­ico for the first time.

The group an­nounced this month that it is start­ing to col­lect monarch cater­pil­lars from the milk­weed gar­dens it has de­vel­oped around its of­fice.

Monarch but­ter­flies have an epic mi­gra­tion route that takes them up and down North Amer­ica ev­ery three gen­er­a­tions.

They also im­print the area where they hatched on their de­scen­dants.

So the but­ter­flies re­turn­ing to the Emer­ald area are, mostly likely, de­scen­dants of those re­leased by BBEMA.

It’s a good feel­ing to start to see all that work pay off, said Tracy Brown, BBEMA’s ex­ec­u­tive director.

“We were so ex­cited when we saw them,” said

Brown.

“It takes a lot of work, but you can take an old, des­o­late, train sta­tion, which is noth­ing but fill seeded with grass, and turn it into a vi­able (monarch) breed­ing ground … and habi­tat that can sus­tain fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” she said.

BBEMA is col­lect­ing all the cater­pil­lars they find to make them part of their breed­ing pro­gram.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

The de­scen­dants of monarch but­ter­flies re­leased in Emer­ald are be­lieved to be re­turn­ing to Prince Ed­ward Is­land.

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