"I don’t usually do live butterflies, but now the zoo found out that I can and they’re bringing me patients. This one was deformed out of the chrysalis, so I did a wing transplant. Hoping he can fly tomorrow."
When it comes to animals, we all do our bit in trying to help them however we can. We've all done or know people who have gone out of their way to rescue dogs, cats, and other such animals. Now, people are paying a lot more attention when it comes to saving bees, too. However, the one thing we don't really pay attention to is butterflies, but this woman, the founder of Insect Art repairs the wings of butterflies! The woman, who makes jewelry from real insects, is also an expert at repairing butterfly wings, and she actually does wing transplants and making sure that these beautiful insects are restored to their former glory.
As expected, it is a meticulous method. The woman, Katie VanBlaricum, took to her page to share updates. The zoo approached her when they found out she does transplants. She wrote: I don’t usually do live butterflies, but now the zoo found out that I can and they’re bringing me patients. This one was deformed out of the chrysalis, so I did a wing transplant. Hoping he can fly tomorrow. She then shared pictures of how she repaired the butterfly's wings.
Butterfly update: it’s storming here today, so no release planned. He can fly a bit, but not as much as I’d like to see. Perhaps he just needs to get his strength up. Here he is, eating. You can see the proboscis collecting nectar from this sponge. His proboscis is like a straw. Fun fact: Monarchs taste with their feet! She then gave another Butterfly update: the repaired Monarch got away from me today! Flew up high in an oak tree, so he’s off. Godspeed! (I had been taking him to some flower gardens outside, to see what he could do. Until now, I had always re-captured him and brought him back home.)
In an interview with Bored Panda, Katie spoke about the surgery and delved into other details as well. “It is not difficult for me to repair the wings since I work with dead insects for a living. 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. I have a friend who works at a butterfly conservatory, and I have seen his “Frankenstein” butterflies flying around there, so I knew it was possible. I asked him for advice, as well as consulting the internet,” Katie explained.
“I have always been interested in insects and wildlife. My “Insect Art” business has been around for nearly 14 years now, and I make my living buying and selling insect specimens for art and science. They always come from sustainably farmed sources. I did take some entomology classes in college, but my degree was in Anthropology. My favorite thing about insects is their diversity,” Katie went into detail. “Any shape or color or behavior you can dream up, there’s an insect for that! I am very much inspired by people like Steve Irwin whose passion it was to make the world love the underappreciated animals.”
“Lots of people think they don’t like “bugs”, but once they come to know and understand them, most people can find something to love about insects! I have volunteered for wildlife rehab for over ten years, and I’m a docent at our local zoo, so helping animals and helping people understand animals is a long term passion of mine.” Katie also added that she's spent some time volunteering at animal shelters, as well as saved kittens who had wandered onto the road. But, thanks to her, the butterfly flew again!