The St. Francis Satyr is an endangered species found only in one part of the United States –specifically, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Habitat loss has contributed to a reduction in the species population. The St. Francis Satyr depends upon the beaver population that disturbs areas then abandons the ponds that were created. Fire also helps to create habitat through tree destruction that allows wetlands to persist. Scientists are studying the natural affects of beavers and fires in the hope of re-creating the habitat needed for the satyr species to better thrive.
Pope Francis, in his encyclical, On Care For Our Common Home, states, “This contemplation of creation allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us” (56). What is God teaching us in the presence of this fragile butterfly?
We know precious little about so many species that share our Earth. How we develop the landscape can have a direct impact on species that depend on that ecosystem and ultimately on us. Pope Francis also says, “Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right” (33).
What You Can Do
Take time to notice the different species of butterflies, bees, insects, birds and other creatures that share your corner of the world. Consider creating a habitat for them by growing native plant species, and creating natural cover and water sources. Stand in awe of the beauty and variety of creation with which God has graced us. Walk gently on the Earth.
An article in Three Rivers Land Trust on the species is available here: www.threeriverslandtrust.org/2016/the-saint-francis-satyr-the-rarest-butterfly-in-north-carolina/