Scientists Concerned about Mountain Butterflies Following Wildfire | Environment
Concern is growing about the future of several butterfly species on Mt. Charleston, following the Carpenter 1 fire that swept through thousands of acres in July.
One species in question is the Mountain Charleston blue butterfly, which is found only on the mountain. It is one of three species that are now considered endangered.
Life science experts from UNLV are teaming up with the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to figure out how to sustain those species.
During a panel Wednesday, one expert explained the danger of an event like a wildfire on a species with such a small population, like the butterfly.
"Any catastrophic event that might happen in one part of the habitat might decimate the species. Whereas, that same effect would not be pronounced for a more widespread species," Daniel Thompson, UNLV Life Sciences Professor, said.
Thompson said the species was impacted the most when the fire wrapped around into Kyle Canyon because that is where most of the butterflies roam and lay their eggs.
He said his team hasn't been allowed up to the mountain to view how much the habitats are damaged, but forestry officials have led them to believe it is extensive.