LOS ANGELES (CBS) — An endangered butterfly is making a comeback near Los Angeles International Airport.
The population of the El Segundo Blue Butterfly at the 200-acre Dunes Habitat Preserve has gone up eight percent since 2010, according to a field study completed in 2011 by entomologist Dr. Richard Arnold, according to Los Angeles World Airports spokesman Marshall Lowe. The population is now estimated between 120,610 and 125,920.
“The present count has increased remarkably from the fewer than 500 El Segundo Blue Butterflies that existed in 1976, when it was among the first insects to be listed as a Federal Endangered Species, “ said Robert Freeman, LAWA’s environmental services manager.
The Dunes Habitat Restoration Project was created in 1986 to encourage the butterfly’s comeback by reintroducing and protecting the coastal buckwheat plant, which is the butterfly’s sole food source, Lowe said.
The increased rainfall between 2008 and 2011 also helped increase the number of mature buckwheats, which in turn helped the increase of the butterfly population.
The active flight season of the El Segundo Blue Butterfly begins in mid-June, but by August, their pupae lie dormant until the following June.