The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is working hard to protect an endangered species.
There are currently an estimated 200 Hine’s emerald dragonflies in Illinois, a number that is critically low.
“Currently it’s the only federally endangered dragonfly species in the United States. It does occur in just four states, we have a small population in Illinois, there’s a population in Wisconsin, Michigan and also Missouri. And in Illinois it only occurs along the Des Plains River,” explains Invertebrate Ecologist with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Andres Ortega.
To help increase the population, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has received nearly $70,000 in federal funding specifically for the Hine’s emerald dragonfly.
“The grant itself is to help us raise the larva of the dragonfly. They do very poorly in the wild, they have less than 1% chance of survival from egg to adult and so the grant is for us to gather the eggs in the wild that would normally not survive, bring them here and raise them to adulthood,” said Ortega.
It takes nearly five years for this dragonfly to go from egg to adulthood, one of the reasons it is endangered.
This past May, as part of the grant, the forest preserve received over 20 larva that are around three-years-old. And this spring officials will go out in search of more eggs to raise, with the ultimate goal of raising several hundred over the next four years and then releasing them into the wild.
If you’re lucky, you can find Hine’s emerald dragonflies at the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.
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