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Posted on: January 24, 2018 at 4:50 pm
Last updated: February 7, 2018 at 10:38 am

In many cultures around the world, butterflies symbolize transformation, changes, and rebirth. They are an animal that is beloved by all. Butterflies have a special significance to one woman in particular, so much so that she has devoted her time to keep them safe from predators, and has even performed an amateur surgery to save the life of one struggling monarch.

Woman Saves the Life of Dozens of Butterflies

Several years ago, Romy McCloskey tragically lost her mother to cancer. But, her mother promised her that her spirit would linger in the form of a butterfly.

monarch butterfly

“She told me, ‘Romy, don’t worry. Whenever you see butterflies, just know it’s me checking in on you to let you know I’m OK, and that I love you[1]’” Romy said.

But, Romy didn’t just sit back and wait for the butterflies to come to her, she decided to fill the world with butterflies by making sure that as many survived as possible. Whenever she found caterpillars in her garden she brought them inside so that they could transform inside, safe from predators. And, when they became butterflies she would set them free again.

monarch butterfly

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Romy has successfully raised and set free dozens of butterflies.

When one of her butterflies came out of its cocoon with a broken wing, she knew that she had to act fast. A butterfly with a broken wing is unable to fly, and therefore unable to take care of itself in the wild.

monarch butterfly

“I couldn’t bring myself to put him down,” Romy said. “I figured I would keep him inside and feed him until he died[1].”

So, her friend sent her a guide to repairing butterfly wings, and she gathered the tools that she needed: a towel, wire hanger, contact cement, toothpick, cotton swabs, scissors, tweezers and talcum powder.

monarch butterfly

Romy had kept the body of another butterfly that had not survived, and planned to use one of its wings as a transplant wing. With all of her tools at the ready, she began her operation.

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Repairing butterfly wings is not painful for the butterfly, and feels similar to getting a haircut for a human.

After a few days of rest after the operation, the butterfly was ready to explore the world and test out its new wing.

“I was nervous for him, but encouraged him as one would their child learning to ride a bicycle,” Romy said. “I was amazed and relieved to see him make his first lap around the yard[1].”

monarch butterfly

After a struggle initially, the butterfly made it to the sky.

“I was nervous for him, but encouraged him as one would their child learning to ride a bicycle,” Romy said. “I was amazed and relieved to see him make his first lap around the yard[1].”

“With each one I release, I tell them I love them and wish them luck on their journey,” Romy said. “To watch such a thing grow and transform in front of your eyes is pretty incredible[1].”

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monarch butterfly

Romy’s efforts have saved dozens of butterflies, many of which are monarch butterflies, which are on the endangered animal list. Every butterfly that she saves is one more beautiful animal that we have on this planet. Romy’s mother would be very proud of her.

Monarch Butterflies are an Endangered Species

If you live in North America you’ve probably seen the telltale orange of a monarch butterfly cruising through the sky on their yearly migration. Each year they travel 1,200 to 2,800 from the United States and Canada to Central Mexican forests to hibernate[2]. That makes theirs the most highly evolved migration pattern of any known species of butterflies or moths.

But, these beautiful insects are now listed on the endangered animals list[2]. Climate change threatens to disrupt the butterfly migration pattern. Colder, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers could be lethal to the migration of these animals, ultimately leading to their demise.

How You and Your Family Can Save the Butterflies Too

Create a Butterfly Conservation Area in Your Backyard

When monarchs are on their migration path they need places to rest. Create a safe space in your garden for the monarchs by providing food, water, cover, and a safe space for them to raise their young. Choose one corner of your garden, plant some milkweed, and provide shelter for them to hide under during stormy days, and you’ll be helping to save the monarch population.

Plant milkweed

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Milkweed is essential for the survival of monarchs. When a monarch is in the caterpillar stage, the only food that it eats is milkweed plants, and monarch butterflies need the milkweed plants to lay their eggs. Planting milkweed plants in your yard will give the monarchs a safe place to live and thrive. There are many different types of milkweed plants, find out which one is suitable for the area that you live in by clicking here.

Don’t Use Pesticides

Monarchs are insects, and so insecticide will kill them. If you want to help the butterflies, avoid spraying pesticides in your yard and garden organically instead. Watch this video for some basic tip on organic gardening:

As the caretakers of this world, humans are responsible for making sure that every plant and animal is happy and thriving. Sadly, in the past, we have fallen short of that goal, but it’s not too late. By changing a few small things within our own lives we can ensure that generations to come will be able to enjoy the beauty of monarch butterflies. Figure out how you and your family can do your part to help these majestic creatures survive.

For some more detailed information about what you can do to promote the safety of butterflies, check out this helpful guide.

 

SOURCES:

[1] Stephen Messenger. (2018, Nov. 1). Woman Helps Butterfly with Broken Wing Fly for First Time. Retrieved from https://www.thedodo.com/in-the-wild/woman-fixes-monarch-butterfly-broken-wing

[2] World Wildlife Foundation. Monarch Butterfly. Retrieved from https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/monarch-butterfly

IMAGE SOURCE:

https://www.thedodo.com/in-the-wild/woman-fixes-monarch-butterfly-broken-wing

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