Most of us probably have no idea that the California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly was a rare Californians species on the verge of collapse. Once widespread in the region, they are now a rare sight in San Francisco due to the loss of their natural habitat. Timothy Wong is a biologist and naturalist who has almost single-handedly brought the species back from the verge of extinction.
Starting fairly recently in 2013, Mr. Wong began leading an informal conservation effort for these beautiful blue butterflies. He carefully raised, monitored, and introduced butterflies in his area, and has successfully introduced a population of California Pipevine Swallowtails at the San Francisco Botanical Garden.
Using a greenhouse that he built in his backyard as an ‘incubator’ of sorts, Mr. Wong then tracked down the solitary food source of these butterflies, the California pipevine. His greenhouse quickly became a butterfly paradise and has certainly extended the extinction clock on this magnificent creature.