Once on the verge of extinction, the California pipevine swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta, is now thriving, thanks to the efforts of one man. Tim Wong, an aquatic biologist and insect enthusiast, took it upon himself to repopulate the rare species by creating a habitat for them in his own backyard.
To attract the butterflies, Wong began growing pipevine, a rare plant that the caterpillars feed on, in his backyard. As the plant thrived, so did the butterfly population. Wong then took things a step further by transporting caterpillars to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, where they could continue to grow and repopulate in a protected environment.
Wong’s efforts paid off, and the population of the California pipevine swallowtail butterfly began to make a comeback. The butterfly, once only found in small pockets of Northern California, can now be seen all around the Bay Area.
Wong’s work has not only saved the butterfly from extinction but has also helped raise awareness about the importance of preserving natural habitats for rare and endangered species. His efforts have inspired others to take action and have proven that even one person can make a significant impact on the environment.