Mark Oppenheimer was surprised to find how the scandal impacted those involved, almost 60 years later.
Biologist Jim Duquesnel gets up every day to do two things. First, find a Miami Blue Butterfly. Then, rid the Florida Keys of the Green Iguana, the invasive reptile he says is driving the Miami Blue to the edge of extinction.
Once a thriving species on Bahia Honda island, no one has seen a Miami Blue since July 2010.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the butterfly as an endangered species. The reason? The invasive Green Iguana has no predators in the Keys, its numbers are growing and it is eating the leaves of the Nickerbean Blue plant, the same leaves where the Miami Blue lays its eggs.
Duquesnel hunts the iguanas in the hope that if there are any Miami Blues left on the island, they’ll have a chance at survival.