Giant City Park offers view of declining species - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Giant City Park offers view of declining species

(Source: AP Images) (Source: AP Images)

The familiar orange and black flapping wings of the Monarch butterfly was on display in Jackson County, Illinois on Sunday.

Thousands of Monarchs migrate south to central Mexico every fall, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Giant City State Park in Makanda is the start of the trip for many.

The event offered folks a chance to get a glimpse at the small creatures as they make their way south of the border. 

Monarch butterflies can travel up to 50 miles a day on their southward trek, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. 

The agency also says the future of the Monarch is in danger, with a population decline of more than 90 percent in North America. 

"The loss of the milkweed plants contributes to the reduced number of monarchs recorded in California and Mexico," according to an article written by Elisa O’Halloran on the USDA's website. 

The USDA says the population can't survive without milkweed.

The plant is a circle of life for the Monarch. The caterpillars feed on milkweed and it's also where the butterflies lay their eggs. 

Conservationists say breeding grounds for the Monarch can be boosted by planting native milkweed plants. 

A partnership between the USDA and a nonprofit group has already produced more than 35 million milkweed seeds.

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