San Francisco Ban on Commercially-Purchased Butterflies Proceeds

With all the work I've done in pulling San Francisco out of the sad legacy of the Xerces Blue ( the first butterfly to be removed from Planet Earth by humans...) , it hasn't helped that a strange, perverse relationship we still have with these creatures exists: butterflies being used for releases at weddings and events. This industry of farmed-raised butterflies exploded during the Dot-Com era and has become a multi-million dollar juggernaut.
Imagine going to a building opening and releasing...40 squirrels into the environment. A new playground for kids and we release...100 turtles!
Ridiculous notions but for some bizarre reason we use butterflies...as party favors. Their beauty has reduced them to...objects to be used as props at the human circus.
I ran into Jeffrey Glassberg, the President of the North American Butterfly Association at Saddlebag Lake this year during the Yosemite Butterfly Count. I told him I want San Francisco to be the first county in the nation to ban such a practice and to start to shut down this ridiculous fad. ( Just because you like chickadees, and you raise chickadees, doesn't give you the right to sell chickadees and release them. That ability was removed, thankfully, with the Migratory Species Act of 1914. It's time we do the same for butterflies.) He's thrilled that something he's written extensively on might actually come to fruition. Beautiful irony it would emanate from the land of Xerces.
Last night, the Commission for the Environment voted to support this resolution ( an ordinance I've been working with environmental lawyers on for over a year.) It has been adopted by the Dept. for the Environment and now we go courting a Supervisor to move it through City Hall. Ah, the Politics of Butterflies. KPIX News Piece:

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/video/9596445-ban-on-releasing-butterflies-up-for-debate-in-san-francisco/

The iNat photos I've chosen here are some of the nine species allowed by the Dept. of Agriculture ( cuz as pretty as they are, folks, they are considered pests on plants...) to be sold across state lines.

Posted on December 04, 2013 08:50 PM by robberfly robberfly

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

Observer

robberfly

Date

September 27, 2013 11:15 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Gulf Fritillary (Dione vanillae)

Observer

robberfly

Date

November 17, 2013 10:21 AM PST

Description

Cool to see how deep into this warm fall this species will go. Definitely "jungle weather" here in SF for this jungle bug.

Photos / Sounds

What

West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella)

Observer

robberfly

Date

November 23, 2013 11:53 AM PST

Photos / Sounds

What

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Observer

robberfly

Date

December 1, 2013 02:15 PM PST

Description

Two hill topping at summit...

Photos / Sounds

What

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

Observer

robberfly

Date

December 1, 2013 11:56 AM PST

Description

Survey of island for these. Camp Reynolds was where we saw three. First walkabout out here in years. Amber Hasselbring companion.

Photos / Sounds

What

Gray Buckeye (Junonia grisea)

Observer

robberfly

Date

December 1, 2013 01:55 PM PST

Description

They all were strangely small, more like first brood after winter...

Photos / Sounds

What

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Observer

robberfly

Date

December 1, 2013 11:26 AM PST

Description

Many and all very advanced...

Comments

Interesting interview. Of course I totaly agree with you and thanks for sharing. I hope there will be support to ban this practice. Shared on FB.

Posted by roberto_arreola over 10 years ago

Thanks for sharing. In Mexico this is an increasing problem, per example I have biologist friends and acquaintances that grow and sell butterflies. It is important to spread the enormous risk for native and endemic biota that this represents. I hope your proposal be successful and can be replicated in all the States and help to create concientization in the rest of the world. I share your post on FB.

Posted by erendiracanales over 10 years ago

I'll be sharing too. Thank you for keeping us informed.

Posted by microm over 10 years ago

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