Kentucky park’s effort to help butterflies migrate to Mexico

HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) — A special generation of monarchs will travel 1,500 miles to Mexico. 

Monarchs are one of the few species of butterflies that migrate and will fly roughly 75 miles a day for the next couple of months from the Evansville area to a mountain range in Mexico. 

Entomologist Brian Ranes said, “What’s amazing is none of these butterflies have never been there, they will never go there again.” 

A typical monarch will only live five or six weeks, but this generation is different. 

“It’s the generation that’s called the Methuselah generation that will live up to eight months, and that’s the only ones that will migrate south.” 

So how can you help? Tagging a monarch with a sticker will send information to a database and allow people to make sure their migration is normal. 

Another critical part of the migration is milkweed, the primary source of food for monarchs and caterpillars. 

Lisa Hoffman, program supervisor at Kentucky’s John James Audubon State Park, said the amount of milkweed throughout the U.S. is declining. She thinks it is from chemicals. 

“There’s not as many milkweed plants anymore and without milkweed you do not have monarchs,” Hoffman said. 

People can help by simply planting a milkweed plant in your yard or garden as the butterflies make their trip across the world. 

The Kentucky state park near Evansville, Ind., will host several events over the next few weekends if you want to tag a butterfly.