Insect zoo being built on Evansdale Campus
Published: Thursday, September 8, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2011 00:09
Insects will soon take over the West Virginia University Evansdale campus.
An upcoming insect zoo will display up to 40 different species, ranging from locally found butterflies to exotic spiders and centipedes, said Young-Lak Park, an assistant professor of entomology at WVU.
"Insects make good material for all people. We want to make a place where people can come to us and see things they haven't seen before," Park said.
The public will be allowed to hold and touch the less aggressive and less dangerous species of insects, while poisonous and more dangerous species will be on display.
Live insects will not be the only thing to see in the insect zoo, though.
There will also be
samples of insects that have been collected and preserved from different areas around the world.
The insect zoo was created not only to be used as an outreach program, but also as a way to research and observe new species of insects – that's why Park is adamant on its free admission policy.
"The point of the zoo is to serve the people," Park said. "Why would we make people pay if we want them to come to us?"
Park said he hopes that the new zoo, which has been in the works for three years, will start a trend of similar openings across West Virginia.
Park, along with assistant researcher Vicki Kondo and three graduate students, will run the program.
They will be responsible for capturing, exchanging and buying all of the insects on display, as well as providing food for the insects.
"The hardest thing will be stainability. We want to breed our insects and grow food for them as much as possible," Kondo said.
The exact date of the zoo's opening has not been decided.