Wild for Monarchs
What You Can Do to Save Monarch Butterflies!


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Wild Ones

Wild About Monarchs links
Two Monarch Matters articles can be found under Wild for Monarchs.

Meaningful Gardening
Monarch Matters - Fall is a great time to transplant milkweed plants.

Monarchs Joint Venture (MJV)
Wild Ones is a partner with MJV working to preserve Monarchs. In the face of declines in monarch numbers and habitat availability, MJV partners are pooling their efforts to protect monarch and pollinator habitat in the U.S.

MJV website
Types of milkweed to plant

Illinois Monarchs

Some Good News About Monarchs

In 2015 the Illinois Tollway Authority announced that they will plant milkweeds and create habitat for Monarch butterflies along 286 miles of the State's tollways. Read more... At the same time the Monarch Joint Venture released the 2015 population estimates for the number of Monarchs overwintering in Mexico, which was up 69% from the record low number last year, but still one of the lowest populations ever recorded.

The Tollway Authority is working with the Natural Resources Defense Council to create Monarch habitat along the tollways. Much of the decline in Monarch populations is blamed on habitat destruction. Monarchs lay their eggs only on milkweed, which is the sole source of food for the caterpillars that develop into the distinctive orange-and-black butterflies.

The eastern Monarch population colonies that overwinter in the mountains of Central Mexico are measured each year to estimate the number of butterflies in each colony. in 2015, there were 9 different colonies, and the one in the El Rosario Sanctuary in Michoacan contains 50.4% of the total population. The annual overwintering count in Mexico is done in late December when the clusters are most compact and movement is minimal. This is the coldest time of the year and the Monarchs principally roost in oyamel trees although they use pines and other trees as well.

Scientists estimate that there were about 50 million butterflies per hectare. The largest number estimated covered more than 18 hectares and contained about one billion butterflies. The lowest population recorded was in 2013-2014 with only 0.67 hectares, about 33 millions Monarchs. This winter's (2015) estimate covers 1.13 hectares, or about 56.5 millions butterflies. The report can be read at Wild Ones is a partner of the Monarch Joint Venture.

Read more about what the Illinois Tollway Authority is doing to increase habitat.
   Daily Herald 2015
   Chicago Sun Times 2016
   The Washington Times (includes video) 2015


Monarchs Need Milkweed!
New research shows a certain type of milkweed can harm monarchs—but we still need to give these butterflies something to snack on. Read more...

Fish & Wildlife Service Launches Plan to Save Monarchs

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has launched a major new campaign aimed at saving the declining population of Monarch butterflies in North America. While Monarchs are found across the United States--as recently as 1996 numbering some one billion--their population numbers have declined by about 90 percent in recent years due to numerous threats, particularly loss of habitat, increased use of pesticides, and degradation of wintering areas in Mexico and California.

The Service announced in February 2015 that it will build a network of conservation partners to protect and restore important Monarch habitat to create oases for the iconic butterfly all across the country. The partnership will provide $2 million to fund conservation projects this year to restore and enhance more than 200,000 acres of habitat for Monarchs and support more than 750 schoolyard butterfly and pollinator gardens. The projects will focus on the Midwest I-35 corridor from Texas to Minnesota, an important breeding area for the eastern population's central flyway.

The Monarch's exclusive larval host plant and a critical food source is native milkweed, which has been eradicated in many farming areas by the increased use of herbicides. Rapid conversion of native short and tall grass prairie habitat to crop production in recent years has also had an adverse impact on Monarch populations in the Midwest.

The Fish and Wildlife Service says the Monarch butterfly serves as an indicator of the health of pollinators and the American landscape. The Monarch's population decline is symptomatic of environmental problems that pose risks to our food supply, the natural places that help define our national identity, and our own health. Conserving and connecting habitat for Monarchs will benefit other plants, animals and important insect and avian pollinators. For more information about the campaign to save the Monarch butterfly and how to get involved go to the Service's website.