Kim McEuen holds up an Oregon Silverspot butterfly in a lab at the Oregon Zoo. The conservation lab raised caterpillars that were released at Saddle Mountain. 

Kim McEuen holds up an Oregon Silverspot butterfly in a lab at the Oregon Zoo. The conservation lab raised caterpillars that were released at Saddle Mountain. 

Colin Murphey /The Daily Astorian

Rare butterfly caterpillars are back on the slopes of Saddle Mountain for the first time since they completely disappeared from the area years before.

Government and private partners released 500 Oregon Silverspot caterpillars on the mountain’s rocky meadow slopes recently as part of an ongoing effort to rebuild the threatened butterfly’s population at key sites. 

“It was a culmination of so much work and it was almost a celebration,” said Trevor Taylor, manager for the reintroduction project at the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Last year, teams reintroduced caterpillars at the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge in southern Tillamook County with plans to release caterpillars at Saddle Mountain this year — a site Taylor describes as “prime real estate” for the red-orange butterflies marked with distinctive silver spots.

Read the full article at The Daily Astorian.