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La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary

Proposal for the translocation of an Eltham copper butterfly, Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida, into the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Eltham Copper Butterfly, Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida was once widespread across the sanctuary of Trobe wildlife. The population of the butterfly declined due to the loss of habitat and particularly, the loss of sweet Bursaria plant and habitat supporting Notoncus ant. The butterfly was later discovered in a park and it was seen prudent to transport it to the La Trobe Wildlife as soon as possible (Bayes, 2011).

Purpose of Eltham Copper Butterfly

By this translocation, a lot will be achieved including the saving of an endangered species and even the return of the lost plants and the habitat friendly ants. The plan is to prepare the receiving end in the sanctuary and arrange the transportation plan. At the park, the butterfly will be captured by trapping and it will be transported by the necessary means to the park. The translocation will save the whole species of butterfly and also of a plant and an insect, the ant. The sanctuary will benefit from the translocation in many ways as it will be hosting a very rare kind of butterfly and also will attract other insects in the course of the day as the habitat plant will be available also for other insects and flies.

As an enthusiast for ecology, I would like to see the whole new generation of the butterfly and also it will be a pity for the beautiful creature to just get lost from the universe. I would like to save the species and ensure its survival. The translocation of the butterfly from the park to the sanctuary is for the better of the survival for the butterfly, in the sanctuary, it will be better chartered for and to ensure its viability and ensure that it reproduces fir it to continue to exist. The existence of this species will be of support to the existence of other species such as the habitat support ant and the sweet Bursaria plant.

Context of Eltham Copper Butterfly

The transfer plan is versatile such that it can be done simultaneous with other transfers and it will also fit in the wider context of restoration at the La Trobe Wildlife sanctuary as the sanctuary also has a plan in restoration of the natural habitats and other endangered spices.

Release Site

La Trobe Wildlife sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary that was created in 1967 as a restoration and management of flora and fauna of indigenous species. In the year 2012, there was a declaration about a conservation covenant on the land that was a permanent agreement to ensure that the native habitat for wildlife and even plants are highly protected. The sanctuary is strategically situated within Nangak Tamboree where it has its reach to the Gresswell habitat link and the Gresswell forest. The Nangak Tamboree was created mainly to create awareness of a space that tends to protect the biodiversity and the communities around. The sanctuary rests on a land that is estimated to be 100 acres.

The sanctuary offers the best habitat of the butterfly as there are variety of habitat plants that can support the existence of the Eltham copper butterfly. It has most of the food that the butterfly can feed on and they can also offer the best breeding site for the butterfly. In the sanctuary, the species will have a self-sustaining population at the long run so that the species will continue its survival. The site will be the best ground for the species. The ground will be accommodating for the species as it will accommodate the species in all manner.

History of The Species at The Release Site

The site where the butterfly is to be transferred to has never hosted this species from the past days, it has not yet been recorded if the species has been to this sanctuary. I chose this site as it has a vision of protecting flora and fauna for a very long time hence it will be safe for the species to be bred in this site.


The introduction of this species to this site will not hinder any existence of another species, in fact, they will coexist as the species feeds on nectar mostly. Its arrival to the site will be beneficial to other species such as plants that are indigenous and help them reproduce by pollination. It will also better the generations of these species by cross pollination as it feeds as it can co-exist with other species. The translocation will have no negative impact in the management of other problems such as management of animal pests and weeds.


The method of translocation is basically capture, transport and release. The transfer will require a minimal number of personnel and one transfer, to be precise, two can be the maximum number of individuals needed for the process of transfer. I will be conducting the transfer as I am a student in my final year and am venturing in tis carrier and opted to begin it as it is relevant and associated with my studies.


This proposal will involve breeding of the species to ensure its existence. There are no recorded captive breeding population on this species and in the long run, the captive population will be freed into the environment if they reach the self-population number.


If this proposal is to be approved, the university will have a hand in sponsoring this project and the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary and there are a lot of volunteers that help me in this research. The project officer is a volunteer from the wildlife sanctuary and has the necessary skills to conduct the project, I will be delivering the scientific skills needed and some classmates that will be helping me. Below is the budget that was estimated for this project

Personnel costs:

Project Officer: $65,000 per annum or $40 per hour

Scientific experts & ecological consultants: At least $200 per hour

Research students: Free, but need to factor in research costs

Contractors: $30-$50 per hour

Volunteers: Free!

The 5-year SMART goal for the translocation of the Eltham copper butterfly to La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary is to maintain its existence and breed it and increase its numbers.

Summary for The Translocation Plan

The butterfly will be captured, transported and released into its new habitat in La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary where it will be captured for breeding to ensure that its kind is in existence for the next 10 to 30 years. The butterfly will co-exist with other species hence little or no negative impact to the sanctuary.

Translocation Risks:

3a.  Risks to translocated species:




Removal of individuals or propagules will cause a reduction in the viability of source populations



Present habitat in the sanctuary is not perfect



Threats to translocated species exist within the sanctuary



Possibility of inbreeding within sanctuary



Insufficient knowledge may hinder translocation success




Species is likely to spread beyond the confines of the release site



Potential for animal welfare concerns to released animals






3b.  Risks to Sanctuary ecosystem




Addition of new species will have negative effects on species in the Sanctuary



Habitat modification will have negative effects on species in the Sanctuary



Introduced species will negatively impact ecosystem function



Hybridisation risks to species currently within the sanctuary






3c.  Risks to Sanctuary social values




Species introduction will impact negatively on surrounding suburbs and neighbouring properties



Species introduction will impact negatively on visitation to the sanctuary



Species introduction may result in public relations risks for the University





Pre-Release Information

The butterfly has a high breeding rate and it is rarely affected by climate and is prone to migration. The removal of the habitat species from the ecosystem of the species may threaten its existence of the introduced species. In the reproduction of the species, the species needs not supplementation of breeding as it can do better by its self. The species has a simple life cycle that is compatible with its survival (Roitman, 2017). Translocation requires both skilled and semi-skilled personnel to handle the process hence it is easily managed. At the site, preparations need to be made in order to accommodate the species. If the species escapes from the sanctuary, it is exposed to predators hence threatening its existence. In order to carb this, the species is to be tracked with the help of technology and trapping method will be used to recapture it. Monitoring the species will be by observation and when it will be released into the environment, it will be monitored by the use of technology such as tagging the species (Victoria, 2011). The species is benefited to the community as it will help in the pollination of the vegetation available. It will also improve the yield of crops by cross pollination. The species will impact the environment positively and the community surrounding the sanctuary (Braby, 2012).

References for Eltham Copper Butterfly

Bayes, E., Douglas, F., Whitfield, J., Van Praagh, B. D., Field, R. P., Yen, A. L., & New, T. R. (2012). Surveys for the Eltham copper butterfly Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida Crosby (Lycaenidae) in Victoria in late 2011. Victorian Naturalist, The129(3), 114.

Braby, M. F. (2012). Further notes on the butterfly fauna of La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary and adjacent nature conservation reserves, Victoria, and its conservation significance. Victorian Naturalist, The129(3), 86.

Roitman, M., Gardner, M. G., New, T. R., Nguyen, T. T., Roycroft, E. J., Sunnucks, P., ... & Harrisson, K. A. (2017). Assessing the scope for genetic rescue of an endangered butterfly: The case of the Eltham copper. Insect Conservation and Diversity10(5), 399-414.

Victoria, P. (2011). Friends of the Eltham Copper Butterfly.

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