San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Hidden Jungle Aviary has been transformed into a magical place where people can meet butterflies until April 12.
The temporary habitat will house 30 species of butterfly. These delicate creatures surround visitors in the aviary dazzling them with their magnificent colours. A number of exotic birds such as turacos, sunbirds and finches are also at home in the aviary. Flowers provide food to the beautiful butterflies.
“Butterfly Jungle heralds the start of spring at the Safari Park,” explained Michael Mace, the Safari Park’s curator of birds. “It’s one of the most popular events we hold all year.”
More than 30 species of butterflies will make their home in the habitat having come from areas such as Asia, Africa as well as Central, South and North America. Bringing the butterflies to the park supports conservation in the areas as Mace explained, “If they weren’t harvesting butterflies, many of these farmers would clear cut their land and plant crops or raise cattle. “Instead, when they harvest butterflies, they leave the land in its pristine state.”
Species on show this year include zebra longwings, orange barred tigers, Grecian shoemakers, monarchs, giant swallowtails and blue morphos.
A special addition to the jungle this year is the threatened birdwing species from Indonesia. These butterflies were offered sanctuary by the Safari Parl after being confiscated by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service when they were shipped illegally to the US earlier this month.
Guests are being encouraged to don bright colours and move slowly to increase the chance that they will get an up close encounter with one of the butterflies. They are reminded though that touching the butterflies could harm them.
Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park/ Tammy Spratt