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Dying butterflies in Southwest Florida

Dying butterflies in Southwest Florida

By Barry Miller. CREATED Apr 30, 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Two species of butterflies that are native to Southwest Florida are facing possible extinction.

What's happening here in Southwest Florida could be an indication of a global crisis.

Not only do scientists and conservationists fear we've lost two local species for good but this is only the beginning of a bigger problem.  

But the bigger question is can we turn this around.

Here at the butterfly estates in Downtown Fort Myers, kids and adults get up close to witness the fragile beauty of these winged insects.

But the US Fish and Wildlife fears two species native to the area: The zestos skipper and the zerruco dusky wing  can now only be found in books.

Experts at the butterfly estates have been observing diminishing populations for years and say they aren't sure what the cause is. 

Owner Rob Johnson says:"I think its as variety of things, loss of habitat is a primary cause but you also see the residuals of pesticides and climate change."

Headlines from Newspapers around the world indicate this is a global problem with other species vanishing to tropical butterflies spotted in Canada. 

But experts like Cathy Loyola with All Native Nursery believes newer long lasting pesticides pose a serious threat.

One of the most recognized butterfly the monarch is also showing signs of strain. 

Butterfly population is measured by the acres they cover when they roost. 

In the 90's ... they covered 22 acres and last year it dropped to eight, this year under three acres. 

That's a 59-percent decrease in butterfly population.