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Butterfly Garden at the Leaf takes flight again after closure

Springtime is here and a popular attraction at The Leaf is undergoing a metamorphosis.

The Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden is in the process of welcoming back butterflies.

The Assiniboine Park Conservancy (APC) was forced to close the exhibit last summer after confirming the presence of small interiors gaps that were enabling some of the butterflies to escape into other parts of the building.

At the time, APC said it was confident none of the butterflies had left The Leaf’s premises.

The biome reopened shortly after but with only domestic species fluttering around.

Now, after recently receiving a new Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) permit, exotic butterflies are taking flight once again.

“We’re really excited to have tropical butterflies back,” said APC representative, Laura Cabak. “We’ve had domestic species in here for some time while we dealt with a couple of issues. But we recently got approval to bring tropical butterflies back in and we couldn’t be more excited. They’re a wonderful part of the Leaf experience.”

The first shipment of tropical butterfly chrysalides arrived last week and were placed in the emergence chamber at the exhibit.

“We actually have some butterflies flying around here,” said Cabak. However, she noted that it will take a few more weeks before the butterfly experience is at its best form, which she describes as being a beautiful spectacle.

“The butterflies come from Costa Rica. There are about 30 different species that we may bring in from time to time. One of the ones that most people will recognize is called the Blue Morpho, it’s known for its really electric blue wings that are just beautiful to watch, and especially when they fly those wings open up. They’re just stunning.”

Cabak said APC is very really confident that the repairs have worked, and can’t wait for community members to experience the attraction again.

“They’re very active. They’re really fun to watch. So they offer an experience that just wasn’t quite the same when we had domestic species here in the biome,” said Cabak.

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