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National Butterfly Center closes indefinitely, cites threats

February 2, 2022 GMT

MISSION, Texas (AP) — A South Texas butterfly center that has fought efforts to build barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border will close to the public for the immediate future due to unspecified threats, according to an announcement by the nonprofit organization.

In an email newsletter sent Wednesday, the board of directors of the North American Butterfly Association said they made the decision to close the National Butterfly Center “in the wake of recent events targeting the center.”

“The safety of our staff and visitors is our primary concern,” said Dr. Jeffrey Glassberg, president and founder of the North American Butterfly Association, in a statement. “We look forward to reopening, soon, when the authorities and professionals who are helping us navigate this situation give us the green light.”

The center, which was closed over the weekend due to a nearby border security rally, has faced harassment in recent years after waging legal challenges against the Trump administration and the We Build a Wall organization regarding the use of the center’s land to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S.

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The emailed statement did not specify the nature of the threats, but included a screenshot of a social media post by a border wall advocate who posed in front of the center’s welcome sign.

The National Butterfly Center and the Mission Police Department did not immediately respond to calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.