San Diego Zoo Safari Park Preps for Butterfly Season

A shipment carrying between 500 and 700 butterfly pupae has arrived at the zoo

By Monica Garske
|  Friday, Mar 1, 2013  |  Updated 3:53 PM PDT
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Baby Panda Explores New Home

Ken Bohn/ San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Butterfly keepers carefully examine the newest butterfly pupae to arrive at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

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Baby Panda Explores New Home

Raw video of baby panda Xiao Liwu exploring his enclosure for the first time at the San Diego Zoo. He makes his public debut after a 5-month-long wait, NBC San Diego reports.
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Spring is around the corner, and there’s a buzz in the air at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park as keepers prepare for butterfly season.

The zoo’s annual Butterfly Jungle event takes place Mar. 16 through Apr. 7. During this time, guests can get up close and personal with thousands of beautiful butterflies from all walks -- or rather, flights -- of life.

As guests walk through the Safari Park’s Hidden Jungle aviary, they’ll be completely surrounded by thousands of butterflies spanning 30 different species hailing from Africa, Asia and Central and South America.

Zookeepers say the species include old favorites like the monarch butterfly, as well as the zebra longwing, orange-barred tiger, swallowtail, blue morpho and Grecia shoemaker.

That being said, preparations for the big event are now in full swing.

On Thursday zookeepers received a new shipment of bright green butterfly pupae, which came from Costa Rica. The shipment included somewhere between 500 and 700 butterfly pupae.

The pupa is the stage in a butterfly’s life when it is encased and undergoing transformation. This stage can last from a few days to months.

Zoo officials say their animal care staff is now in the process of sorting the pupae in a special humidity and climate-controlled room, making sure the pupae are carefully counted, cared for and primed for metamorphosis.

There, the pupae will soon emerge from their chrysalis and then be placed into an aviary for the Butterfly Jungle event.

This means that in just a few weeks, zoo guests will have the pleasure of seeing these butterflies do what they were born to do: spread their wings and fly.

For more information about Butterfly Jungle at Safari Park, visit this website.

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