Monarch butterfly tracking event on August 14th at Dinosaur National Monument

Monarch butterfly in Utah. Photo: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

VERNAL, Utah – The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has partnered with Utah State University to research the distribution and migration of monarch butterflies and they invite the public to watch them at work. The event will take place in the Dinosaur National Monument outside Vernal on Saturday, August 14th, 8-11am in the historic Josie Morris Cabin. The event is free, but there is an entry fee of $ 25 per vehicle to enter the Dinosaur National Monument.

Visitors will watch as biologists catch the adult butterflies, attach a sticker with tracking information to their wings, and then safely release them. This routine tracking activity helps gather information about the butterflies’ migration patterns and population numbers. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the life cycle of monarch butterflies and have a nice walk through a field to see them.

A Utah biologist places a tracking sticker on the wing of a monarch butterfly. Photo: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The number of monarchs is falling sharply, mainly due to the use of pesticides in the mid-west of the Corn Belt. This has reduced the number of milkweed plants growing in the agricultural fields where most of the world’s monarchs are born. They are also affected by climate change, which affects the predictable flowering time and stable weather conditions they need for successful migration.

In fact, the number of monarchs has fallen so low that many government scientists predict that their number has fallen below the extinction threshold. If their populations don’t recover soon, their migration could collapse.

While the event is free, the DWR encourages attendees to pre-register and reserve a time slot as spaces are limited.

For more information on how you can help monarch butterflies in Utah, visit the Utah Pollinator Project website.

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