Morrie’s is helping to save Minnesota’s prairie wildlife


Morrie’s has partnered with the Minnesota Zoo to help restore Minnesota’s Prairie Wildlife by providing a Mazda CX-5 vehicle.  Minnesota Zoo conservationists use it in the field across Minnesota and beyond researching prairie butterflies, moose and more recently bison.  Below you’ll find an update from Minnesota Zoo conservationist Erik Runquist.


The Minnesota Zoo works every day to save wildlife. Our programs in Minnesota and around the world depend on partnerships. We have benefited from a great Mazda CX-5 field research vehicle through a generously donated lease from Morrie’s Automotive Group. In the past several months, we’ve taken the field vehicle across Minnesota and beyond to help save prairie butterflies and restore bison. Here are our Top Five spots from this summer!


1)        The Minnesota Zoo

The Mazda CX-5 conservation vehicle on display in front of the Minnesota Zoo


Who wouldn’t want to be at the Minnesota Zoo? At the Zoo, we expanded the world’s only breeding program for the US Threatened Dakota skipper, raising more than 150 from egg to adulthood, and produced many hundreds more eggs! The CX-5 was a true work horse, hauling around hundreds of food plants for the butterflies and other supplies!


2)        Northeast South Dakota

Male Dakota skipper on a South Dakota prairie, nectaring on purple coneflower.

Northeast South Dakota may have the world’s last best populations of Dakota skippers. We found most populations to be in good shape! Working under federal and state permits, we collected more eggs from a limited number of females and brought the eggs back to the Zoo.


3)        Northwest Minnesota

A zoo conservationist searches for dakota skippers in NW Minnesota


With possibly the last Dakota skipper populations in our state, northwest Minnesota is very important to our work. With the CX-5, we found healthy numbers at the known site, and also searched new sites for previously unknown populations.


4)        Western North Dakota


American Plains Bison at a North Dakota Nature Conservancy Preserve.


In mid-June, we took the CX-5 from the Zoo on its longest road trip ever: to western North Dakota! We surveyed prairie butterflies and looked for the rare Garita skipperling. While the skipperling remained elusive, we did find some spectacular prairies and great wildlife on the edge of the Badlands.


5)        Minneopa State Park

The Minnesota Zoo Mazda CX-5 enters Minneola State Park


Speaking of bison, did you know that the Minnesota Zoo and DNR proudly established a new herd of genetically rare bison at Minneopa State Park near Mankato in September? Zoo staff used the eye-catching CX-5 to help usher in a new era of Minnesota prairie wildlife conservation at Minneopa!


We are doing a lot thanks to all our great funders and partners. With the awesome Mazda CX-5 field vehicle from Morrie’s Auto Group, we can it do so much better! Thank you Morrie’s!



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