The Cockrell Butterfly Center is stocked with over 1500 live specimens of tropical butterflies. We purchase the live larvae from butterfly ranches all over the world, a new form of business that presents an alternative to rainforest destruction. Instead of selling and clearing rainforest land, the ranchers are turning to raising and breeding rare butterflies for live butterfly habitats all over the world. The rainforest is preserved, the land owner is making a living, and endangered butterflies like the Blue Morpho are kept from extinction.
What does all of this have to do with the preserved butterfly specimens we sell? A butterfly's live cycle is only 3 days to two weeks. The butterfly ranchers breed thousands of these butterflies every week. The parent butterflies die and the ranchers are left with hundreds of these beautiful butterflies that have fulfilled their natural lifecycle. The ranchers then sell the naturally dead butterflies as specimens to artists and collectors.