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Exotic butterflies escape biome in The Leaf, prompting closure

An inside look at part of The Leaf on June 2, 2023. (Source: Jamie Dowsett/CTV News) An inside look at part of The Leaf on June 2, 2023. (Source: Jamie Dowsett/CTV News)
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The escape of some exotic butterflies in The Leaf has prompted the temporary closure of the butterfly biome.

A spokesperson for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy told CTV News some of the butterflies in the biome on the third floor of The Leaf managed to escape into other parts of the building.

"We are confident none of them have escaped the building," Laura Cabak, the director of communications and public relations for Assiniboine Park Conservancy, said in an email to CTV News.

"Last week, we conducted testing to locate potential gaps and found there are some that need to be addressed."

Cabak said the biome has been temporarily closed, in compliance with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which regulates the import of animals into Canada. The remaining exotic butterflies have been taken to a holding facility at the Zoo.

"We expect to reopen the biome soon with native butterfly species until the necessary repairs can be addressed," Cabak said.

This comes days after The Leaf had to temporarily close its doors for a few hours due to the heat.

Amid the soaring heat on Sunday, one of the sensors in The Leaf recorded the temperature hitting 43 degrees, prompting the closure of the facility for several hours.

"With the higher temperatures experienced in the Tropical Biome, it has become increasingly challenging to manage the water temperature in the pond," Cabak said on Wednesday. "As a result, to ensure their health and welfare, the koi will be gradually removed and transferred to a temporary holding facility."

Cabak previously told CTV News cooler weather in the forecast is expected to bring some relief. 

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