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There have been some strange stories coming out of the Trump conspiracy theorists and QAnon folks the past couple of years, but this one tops them. The National Butterfly Center, on the Texas border with Mexico, closed last week because the same folks that brought us “Pizzagate” and belief in a child cannibalistic ring of liberals and Democrats has decided that the nature sanctuary is involved in child trafficking.

For the record; they are not. They exist to protect endangered butterflies.

But you can’t tell that to the seriously delusional folks who want to believe in every made-up conspiracy while claiming their own very real conspiracy isn’t. The board of the 100-acre butterfly sanctuary announced Feb. 2 that it will close indefinitely due to safety concerns after it has been repeatedly targeted by right-wing conspiracy theorists, says that it is closing its doors for the time being to protect both their staff, and the public.

Construction of the border wall has endangered the National Butterfly Center in the past. Now its right-wing activists who threaten it. Courtesy photo.

This nature preserve in Mission, TX is home to 210 species of butterflies. It first hit national attention during the Trump administration when the former president was pushing his U.S.-Mexico border wall and wanted to build a wall through the sanctuary; as if butterflies know which side of a wall they should be on.

The case got tied up in court for years, and the ‘We Build The Wall’ allies of the former president began to harass the center. Then out of nowhere, came this unfounded and false claim that if the center didn’t want the right-wing activists there, they must be involved in child trafficking.

Just recently, there was a “We Stand America” border security rally nearby by QAnon conspiracy theorists and supporters of former President Trump. The center staff was warned to be “armed at all times or out of town” during the rally because the park was a target for rally attendees. Armed — when your job is to protect butterflies.

Right-wing Republican congressional candidate from South Carolina, Lynz Piper-Loomis, posted a video of herself and Women Fighting for America founder Christie Hutcherson at the gates of the center, saying they could see no evidence of a “threat” against the center and said they thought it was being made up. They went so far as to suggest the perceived threat was against the butterflies, not the people at the park.

“We need to protect the butterflies. I agree with that. So Biden, why don’t you build the wall to protect the butterflies?” asked Hutcherson. She had attended the Jan. 6, 2021 rally that preceded the Capitol riot. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes her as “a far-right religious zealot” who participates in border vigilante activities.

Now there’s a reason the conservancy is where it is — the butterfly migration between North America to their winter grounds in Mexico and Central America, especially of the endangered Monarch Butterfly, brings these beautiful creatures that direction across the lower Rio Grande Valley.

The conservancy makes a safe place from commercial development and destruction of their habitat for butterflies to stop during their annual migration. Butterflies  (well, Monarch Butterflies) like to eat milkweeds, and we humans like to cut them down, along with most other natural food for migratory butterflies. The number of Monarchs, so necessary for fruit and flower pollination which greatly impacts our food supply, has fallen drastically over the past two decades all across the U.S.

Just how far the far-right is willing to go with this fantasy shows that not all of us are living in the same reality. The Huffington Post reported that National Butterfly Center Director “Marianna Treviño-Wright said a doctored image of rafts at the butterfly center’s dock was shared online in 2019 (supposedly used for child trafficking) when she was repeatedly targeted with defamatory and malicious lies by former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon and We Build The Wall founder Brian Kolfage.

Featured images: Monarch butterflies on a stopover in the National Butterfly Center. Courtesy image.