Not so fast - the Palos Verdes Blue butterfly is not extinct.

Written by: Clare-Anne Canfield  

Published on Friday, September 14th, 2018 at 12:44 pm EDT

Written by: Clare-Anne Canfield


Endangered Palos Verdes blue butterfly. Photo Credit: Jane Hendron - Pacific Southwest Region USFWS 

Good news is tough to come by, especially if you frequently type the word "extinct" into search bars (it's part of my job and also the reason I spend Friday nights drinking).
The Palos Verdes blue butterfly, found in California's Palos Verdes Peninsula, are a tiny reminder that good news often gets overlooked.

Palos Verdes blues were declared extinct in 1983 due to the city bulldozing the limited scrub habitat of the endangered butterfly for a baseball field. If you're wondering if city officials knew they'd be wiping out an endangered species, then rest assured that they totally knew and did it anyways. 
Palos Verdes Blue. Photo Credit: William McKenna

Thankfully, and to the delight and surprise of researchers, in 1994 those little blue butterflies popped back up in the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Nowadays, the Palos Verdes blue species is still endangered, but it does have a lot of folks fighting to protect it. The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy maintains scrub land that provides locoweed, rattlepod and deerweed as larval host plants for the species. Captive breeding programs contribute greatly to saving this species thanks to the work of The Urban Wildlands Group and Moorpark College. And finally, the Defense Logistics Agency and the U.S. Navy support and fund habitat restoration in association with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy.

In other words, right now there are members of the U.S. Navy assisting in the reintroduction and protection of butterflies. Let that sink in. Maybe there's hope for humans...Maybe.
Palos Verdes Blue butterflies have great taste in home locations. Point Vicente Lighthouse, Palos Verdes. Photo Credit: Mike Quach