Native grassland habitats are increasingly threatened by a wide array of human influences including habitat conversion, pesticide use, and climate change.

This loss of this prairie habitat has resulted in the dramatic decline of several highly specialized grassland species including the Poweshiek skipperling. This small orange-brown skipper may go unnoticed by most, but it is dependent on tall- and mixed-grass prairie habitat. 

The Assiniboine Park Zoo is collaborating with Minnesota Zoo’s Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and University of Winnipeg researchers to help establish a head-starting program for grassland specialist butterflies that are at risk of extinction. Head-start programs bring animals or young in from the wild and raise them until they are old enough to survive on their own. They are then released into the wild to increase the population size or re-establish the population in areas where they have gone extinct. 

About the Species

  • Breeding and Ecology
  • Threats
  • Status
  • Range


  • What is being done in Manitoba?
  • What is Assiniboine Park Zoo’s Role?


  • Current Research
  • Future Research
butterfly on flower
researcher catching butterflies
researcher in the lab