Timothy Wong is not only a biologist at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, but he’s also the reason why California Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies (Battus philenor hirsuta) are thriving around the Academy in Golden Gate Park.
Endemic to the Bay Area, the pipeline swallowtails, recognizable from their speckled blue, white, and orange wings, were still seen outside of San Francisco but were increasingly rare in the city.
When Wong learned that they only laid their eggs on Dutchmans Pipe (Aristolochia californica), he got a few clippings from the San Francisco Botanical Garden and planted them in his yard. He then worked with CalAcademy to plant more on their living roof.
The 2017 San Francisco Chronicle video above shares the story. Follow Wong on Instagram at @timtast1c, and if you’re in the Bay Area, check out the California Pipevine Swallowtail Project on Facebook.
There are more photos of the butterfly at Vox: How one man repopulated a rare butterfly species in his backyard.
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