Sunday, August 18, 2013

There Were Some Monarchs In Canada This Year

Friend of mine is one of the country's foremost lepidopterists and spends a lot of time searching for and documenting butterflies in Eastern Ontario, not far from Ottawa.

He has documented three Monarch butterflies this year - two in the wild, and one he raised to maturity from an egg.  It took only 34 days from when the egg was laid till the adult Monarch was released!

(He likes to say that, to see butterfly eggs, you have to drive really, really slowly.)

On that note, I've had several Giant Swallowtails around my house this summer, and I'm still searching for either an egg, larva or chrysalis.  No luck so far.  And I have miles of Prickly Ash just across and down the road from the house.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Restoring Russian Wildlife

Reading a National Geo post today - "The birth of a Przewalski's horse—the first in the world to be born via artificial insemination—is giving the once decimated species new hope. The filly was born July 27 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute(SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia."  link, I'm reminded of the time some 30 or so years ago when Canada gave a small herd of young muskoxen to the Russians to help them start replacing the animals that had been eliminated there by overhunting.

I remember how cold it was around midnight on the tarmac of Dorval Airport while we both declined to sign voluminous Russian paperwork that had little or no meaning to us and demanded guarantees we were completely incapable of providing.  I remember also the great consternation of the Russians when Canadian television cameramen followed the animals into the bowels of an immense Russian transport aircraft as the crated animals were loaded by forklift.  Never did know what they were so concerned that someone might see in there.

The animals and the gesture got good publicity in Canada - must wonder how the Russian herd is doing today.  Be an interesting story to follow up.