Rare Rescued Butterflies Get New Home at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park animal care staff gently unpacked 130 butterfly pupae on Thursday, February 26. The pupae, living butterfly cocoons, are an endangered species from Indonesia. The insects were confiscated by U.S. Fish & Wildlife officials from a shipment sent into the United States.

“The butterfly pupae are known by the common name, Birdwing, and they are a CITES 1 protected species,” said Michael Mace, curator of birds at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “We have been able to offer sanctuary to these rare insects and expect that they will live out their lives here at the Park.”


San Diego Zoo Safari Park staff carefully unpacked the the illegal pupae, but some were damaged by their journey.

Animal care staff at the Park indicated that some of the pupae were damaged due to crowding and lack of protection in the shipment containers. They have carefully unpacked and positioned the survivors so that they have the opportunity to emerge from their cocoons as they would in the wild.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.