/ Modified feb 25, 2019 4:45 p.m.

Western Wildlife Agencies Finalize Monarch Butterfly Plan

The group, which includes Arizona Game and Fish have a conservation plan for the butterflies, which have seen plummeting populations.

Monarch arizona A monarch in Arizona.
Ecology Resource/USFWS Midwest/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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The past two decades have seen monarch butterfly populations in the Western U.S. plummet 80 percent, due mainly to habitat loss. Officials hope a new game plan will help reverse that trend.

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which includes the Arizona Game and Fish Department, has completed its conservation plan for western monarch butterflies.

Monarchs are unique among butterflies in that, like birds, they make an annual two-way migration.

Arizona lies along the path of this annual trek for both eastern and western monarchs, which overwinter in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico and along the California coast, respectively.

The plan sets targets for population size and habitat conservation, and strategies for achieving them.

The department says it will invite the public to help plant milkweed, and monitor and/or tag the butterflies, as the plan moves forward.

Arizona Science Desk
This story is from the Arizona Science Desk, a collaborative of the state's public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Arizona Science Desk.
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