Deformed out of its chrysalis, this particular Monarch butterfly came out with impaired wings, making it unable to fly. Needless to say, this young butterfly hasn’t been able to fly since it came out from its chrysalis. The zoo immediately sought the help of Katie VanBlaricum, the artist behind the Etsy shop Insect Art. Katie specializes in creating jewelry and custom works that are made with real insects. But in November 2013, she made her first attempt on butterfly wing repair by making a wing transplant. One of her monarchs was accidentally stepped on by her dog. Thankfully, the butterfly was alive but one of its wings received heavy damage. Katie decided to make a wing transplant and it was indeed successful. In the afternoon of that same day, the butterfly was released and flew away into freedom.
The success of Katie’s butterfly wing repair through transplant prompted the zoo to bring the monarch to her. Determined to repair the deformed butterfly, Katie went ahead with the transplant as can be seen on the step-by-step procedure below.
“It is not difficult for me to repair the wings since I work with dead insects for a living.”, Katie shares. “It takes me less than 5 minutes to do the repair. You have to work fast, to avoid stressing the butterfly out any more than necessary.”
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Apparently, the butterfly wing repair through transplant was successful. But the butterfly needs to regain its strength before it can actually fly. Three days later, the repaired monarch was finally released as Katie watched it fly outside. Katie’s successful butterfly wing repair gained the praise of people on social media as her followers closely followed the procedure every step of the way.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.