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Endangered butterfly species released in N. Ill.

Published: Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 7:24 a.m. CDT

ELGIN — It's been more than 70 years since Swamp Metalmark butterflies have lived in the wild in Illinois. Until now.

Scientists from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum on Thursday released 18 of the endangered butterflies at Bluff Spring Fen, a 100-acre nature preserve in Elgin. They plan to release 100 more over the next week to 10 days.

The butterflies have glittery, silvery-gold wings. It is considered locally extinct.

Doug Taron is the museum's curator of biology and vice president of conservation and research. He's worked for six years on reintroducing the Swamp Metalmark.

Scientists hope they'll repopulate in the nature preserve.

Taron says watching the butterflies take their first flight in their new home was "an unforgettable moment."

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