Oregon butterfly species no longer considered endangered
A butterfly that’s native to Oregon will be removed from the endangered species list after more than two decades.
The Fender’s blue butterfly lives in the prairies of the Willamette Valley, but it’s threatened when those areas develop into forests or become farmland.
Due to habitat loss, the species was once even considered extinct. In 2000, officials recorded less than 4,000 in the wild.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Michelle St. Martin said with federal guidance, private landowners have started doing more to maintain prairies and protect against invasive species.
In 2016, the butterfly population peaked at 29,000. St. Martin said the number of butterflies fluctuates, but the discovery of specimens in new locations suggest that the population is still growing.
“We want to take this momentum and keep going with it. We're gonna keep working with those landowners and partners to hopefully fully recover the Fender’s.”
The species’ conservation status will officially change on February 13.