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Photo of the Week: Butterflies in Peril

Are we losing our monarchs?

Posted May 22, 2014. Butterfly photo courtesy of Mike Courtois. Caterpillar photo courtesy of Andrew Halverson.

Each summer, familiar orange and black monarch adults float through the Botanic Garden and flutter inside the PNM Butterfly Pavilion, which opens tomorrow.

caption:A monarch Caterpillar. Photo courtesy Andrew Halverson via Creative Commons License. As a caterpillar, the monarch only eats milkweed, which grows in meadows and along the edges of roads and fields. The plant is increasingly rare as wild spaces are developed and landowners spray to kill “weeds” that are often excellent food for wildlife.

Scientists are seeing significant declines in monarch populations as they lose habitat along their migration routes across North America. Another threat is illegal logging in the high-altitude forests in Mexico where the butterflies overwinter.

The ABQ BioPark is helping butterflies by participating in Monarch Watch, a monitoring and conservation program. We’re also growing lots of host plants (like milkweed) and nectar-rich flowers for the adults. You can do the same at home!

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