Hunting Butterflies in No-Man's Land

Thursday, June 1, 2017 - 10:06am
The BBC

It’s best to bring an ice axe when counting butterflies in North Cascades National Park. Located on the Canadian border in the US state of Washington, the park is renowned for its jagged peaks, limited trails and annual snow pack.

 

“Before my census crew could learn to identify over 40 butterfly species,” John McLaughlin recalled, “they had to know how to safely traverse snowbound, steep passes and – if necessary – to self-arrest using an ice axe.”

A wildlife biologist at Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment, McLaughlin has endured the inherent rigors of surveying the park’s invertebrates and mammals for more than two decades.