Disease

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  • #45266

    David
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    This blog raises an interesting angle to our activities of breeding monarchs in captivity – small scale farming? Could we be guilty of introducing disease to the wild flock?

    Look at: http://www.xerces.org/blog/releasing-monarch-butterflies-is-not-a-good-conservation-strategy/

    For my tuppence worth I feel that by providing milkweed, engaging in some anti-wasp activities and combating the dreaded aphid scourge we are assisting the wild flock and not likely to add to any disease factor. But perhaps using butterfly tents and ‘hand rearing’ might be considered farming and a route for disease spreading into the wild flock.

    The blog applies to the situation in the USA. Is there any large scale farming of butterflies in NZ, could our ‘small scale farming’ activities have an undesirable risk factor? Discussion point?

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  • #45267

    Jacqui
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    Hi David

    I don’t believe there is any large scale farming in NZ. However, Xerces are very active/outspoken about monarch health and while I support conservation efforts I think they go over the top trying to eradicate a disease that is natural.

    In the natural world there are not meant to be millions of monarchs flying around. These diseases, parasites, predators are nature’s way of ensuring that there’s a balance in numbers.

    I’ve just been visited by the Butterfly Lady from the USA (probably not the only BL, but she’s very successful in raising butterflies and education in schools) and she is also of the opinion that they’re going over the top over there.

    I agree with your first statement in paragraph 3, but having visited a couple of butterfly farms over there – and see the huge numbers they raise – I am conifdent that they are doing everything they can to minimise disease. They are very professional. There could of course be some farmers who are in it for a quick buck that are not as careful or professional as the farms we visited.

    As a former board member of the International Butterfly Breeders Association, I can tell you that their members take monarch health very seriously.

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