The Butterfly Conservation Initiative is dedicated to the conservation of threatened, endangered, and vulnerable North American butterflies and the habitats that sustain them, with a focus on recovery, research, and education.

The Butterfly Conservation Initiative was established in 2001 as a result of conversations between the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Partnerships and Outreach.

Our original objectives were two-fold:

– to support the recovery of federally listed butterfly species in the United States; and

– to increase public awareness of and involvement in local and regional butterfly conservation efforts.

Together we sought to devise ways in which AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and their partners could work together to become leaders in their local conservation communities. Rather than focusing exclusively on conservation efforts scattered throughout the world, AZA members wanted also to make a difference in their own backyards.

Butterfly recovery offers a unique opportunity for zoological parks and aquariums of all sizes to participate in field conservation in a meaningful way. Hands-on efforts, including habitat restoration and creation, native plant propagation, captive rearing, education and outreach, and population monitoring, offer participants a chance to connect directly with species and habitats in need.