WA prison inmates raise imperiled butterflies

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BELFAIR, Wash. (AP) -- Inmates at a state prison near Belfair are raising a rare species of butterfly that survives in only four isolated areas in Washington and Oregon, including a prairie that makes up the artillery range at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The Kitsap Sun reports (http://bit.ly/qK1Xcl ) that if the Taylor's checkerspot butterfly were placed on the federal endangered species list it could interrupt training at the artillery range.

That's where the butterflies from the Mission Creed Corrections center come in. State wildlife officials and conservation groups hope to introduce them to other areas in the south Puget Sound area to build up the butterfly population.

The prison's butterfly greenhouse was erected by inmates with a $30,000 grant from the Department of Defense.

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Information from: Kitsap Sun, http://www.kitsapsun.com/