Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Inmates, tagging and... butterflies?


Inmates, tagging and... butterflies?


Now that autumn’s arrived butterfly lovers around New Zealand are tagging Monarch butterflies. And in a few weeks they’ll hear from a USA scientist how tagging is helping prisoners in a Washington State Penitentiary.

Associate Professor David James, from Washington State University will stress the importance of tagging Monarchs at the conference of the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust at Unitec, Mt Albert, on 16 and 17 March, explaining how inmates from Washington penitentiaries are helping.

Monarchs typically form large clusters, sometimes with hundreds or thousands of butterflies, to survive the colder winter months. In New Zealand many of these sites are unknown; in North West America Monarchs overwinter on the Californian coast. The Sustainability in Prisons project has teamed up inmates, prison staff and scientists to help restore endangered species and habitats.

The inmates raise Monarch butterflies from eggs in their cells, tag them – and then James releases them into the outdoors.

“It’s been a really exciting programme and has had a positive impact, says Associate Superintendent Chris Bowman. “Our goal is to give the inmates something to look forward to when they wake up in the morning.”

“From a mental health standpoint this has been very beneficial for the inmates,” said Tamara Russell, clinical director of Washington State Penitentiary’s Residential Mental Health Unit. "We know that having an activity that allows inmates to give back to the community helps alleviate depression from long-term incarceration. It gives them a focus and a purpose for their lives. They're involved in something bigger than themselves that has meaning.”

And James is thrilled.

“Last November I had a report of one of our Washington State reared and released Monarchs resighted on 30 October in a home garden in Bolinas, California,” he said. “This female was tagged and released on 17 September in Yakima, Washington – a distance of about 1000 kilometres (620 miles).

In New Zealand the longest distance reported has been a Monarch which flew from Pukawa Bay, near Turangi and was seen alive and well three weeks later at Whangarei, some 400 kilometres away.

Even though the Monarchs are sexually mature, it isn’t until the onset of spring that mating and breeding is triggered
Over the autumn and winter tiny, white tags are applied to the hindwing of each Monarch. Each tag bears the Trust’s website address and a unique number, but are virtually weightless.

Butterflies are uniquely placed to act as indicators of environmental change.

“The status of our flora and fauna depends on the effects of environmental conditions on our natural world,” said Jacqui Knight, Secretary of the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust. “Such things as pollution, climate change, alien species and land management all change our world. We need to know more about our insects to predict the impacts of such change, and to develop an appropriate response.”

“By tagging and following Monarchs we can use them as indicators of the status of our environment here in NZ,” she said. “They are large and colourful and easy to see.”

There will be a lot to learn at the conference and the event is raising considerable excitement among teachers, gardeners and conservation-minded people.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Houses (& Tobacco) Lead Inflation: CPI Up 0.3% In March Quarter

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in the March 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. Higher tobacco and housing prices were partly countered by seasonally cheaper international air fares, vegetables, and package holidays. More>>

ALSO:

Notoriously Reliable Predictions: Budget To Show Rise In Full-Time Income To 2018: English

This year’s Budget will forecast wage increases through to 2018 amounting to a $10,500 a year increase in average full time earnings over six years to $62,200 a year, says Finance Minister Bill English in a speech urging voters not to “put all of this at risk” by changing the government. More>>

ALSO:

Prices Up, Volume Down: March NZ House Sales Drop 10% As Loan Curbs Bite

New Zealand house sales dropped 10 percent in March from a year earlier as the Reserve Bank’s restrictions on low-equity mortgages continue to weigh on sales of cheaper property. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Chorus To Appeal Copper Pricing Judgment

Chorus will appeal a High Court ruling upholding the Commerce Commission’s determination setting the regulated prices on the telecommunications network operator’s copper lines. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Cars: Precautionary Recalls Announced For Toyota Vehicles

Toyota advises that a number of its New Zealand vehicles are affected by a series of precautionary global recalls. Toyota New Zealand General Manager Customer Services Spencer Morris stressed that the recalls are precautionary. More>>

ALSO:

'Gardening Club': Air Freight Cartel Nets Almost $12 Million In Penalties

The High Court in Auckland has today ordered Swiss company Kuehne + Nagel International AG to pay a penalty of $3.1 million plus costs for breaches of the Commerce Act. Kuehne + Nagel’s penalty brings the total penalties ordered in this case to $11.95 million ... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: Revenue Below Projections

Core Crown tax revenue has increased by $1.9 billion (or 5.0%) compared to the same time last year. However this was $1.1 billion less than expected and is reflected across most tax types, continuing the pattern of recent months. More>>

ALSO:

Efficiency: Businesses And Households To Save From New Energy Plans

Minister of Energy and Resources Simon Bridges today announced three energy efficiency initiatives to improve business productivity, save money and reduce carbon emissions. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news