The monarch butterfly is now an endangered species. That’s according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Over the past ten years, the monarch butterfly population has decreased between 23- and 72-percent. The group said the decline in the monarch population is due to many factors. They include habitat loss, increased pesticide use, and climate change. The agency hopes the declaration will spur action to help save the monarchs from extinction.
In Indiana and other midwestern states, people are trying to help rebuild the endangered Monarch butterfly population. Some people plant milkweed and other flowers in their yards to help feed Monarch butterflies and their caterpillars. Bernadette Werner, an organic farmer in Marshfield, Wisconsin, goes even further, bringing the caterpillars indoors for about four weeks until they transform into butterflies. She says she and her daughter set up modified fish tanks in the house with screen tops to house and protect the caterpillars from predators and disease and then release them into the flower fields when they’re ready. She says it seems as if some of the butterflies may even remember them. “If we’re just randomly watching around outside,” Werner said, “Monarchs will come and land on myself and my daughter.” She says planting more milkweed and other flowers up and down the migration route from Midwestern U.S. states to Mexico can help strengthen the Monarch population for their yearly migration. Monarchs migrate south 25-hundred miles south every fall, and then back north again every Spring.