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A healthy monarch butterfly spotted in downtown Chicago in 2007. (Greg Robbins / Flickr)

This week, a number of dead monarch butterflies were found along the lakefront. The sight alarmed some members of the public who spotted the insects. But one local expert says it’s par for the course as the butterflies retreat south for the winter.

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Monarchs are in trouble, despite efforts by volunteers and organizations across the United States to nurture the beloved butterfly. And the Trump administration’s new order weakening the Endangered Species Act could well make things worse.

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(skeeze / Pixabay)

New research by University of Chicago scientists shows that despite the positive intentions of conservationists who promote captive breeding for monarchs, the practice may not be producing the desired effect.

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(Courtesy The Field Museum)

Chicago and other U.S. cities could provide nearly one-third of the milkweed plant scientists estimate is needed to save monarch butterflies, whose populations have plummeted in recent decades. 

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A monarch butterfly (Pixnio)

It’s a colorful sign of summer: brightly colored butterflies floating on the wind. From nature museums to forest preserves to beachfront parks, Chicago has plenty of spots to see these beautiful insects. Here are 10 of the best. 

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(skeeze / Pixabay)

A new program aims to create or preserve nearly 2 million acres of habitat across the U.S. for monarch butterflies, which could face extinction in 20 years. 

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Conservation groups say the federal government needs to spend more to save monarchs, the beloved black-and-orange insects whose population has dropped in recent decades.

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Monarch butterfly populations have dropped by more than 80 percent over the past two decades. A bill approved this week aims to boost the monarch’s recovery by protecting milkweed, a plant that serves as the butterfly’s only source of food. 

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How a Chicago community organization cultivates the scientific and cultural aspects of monarch butterflies.

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(skeeze / Pixabay)

The monarch butterfly’s remarkable migration is in peril. Its habitat has been decimated by rapid urbanization and changing agricultural practices. Could cities come to the rescue?

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Luis Rafael’s low-poly design is displayed at dozens of storefronts in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. (Maya Miller / Chicago Tonight)

The orange-and-black insect has flocked to a Chicago neighborhood, but its presence is more of a political act than a natural one.

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The population of the monarch butterfly -- seen here in Chicago's Grant Park -- has declined by more than 80 percent over the past two decades. A 2016 study claims the decline of milkweed plants in the Midwest is a contributing factor. (Oriol Gascón i Cabestany / Flickr)

Their annual migration from North America to Mexico has been called “one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world,” but the monarch butterfly is not only in decline – it’s closer to extinction than previously thought, research shows.

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Over the past 10 years, monarch butterfly populations have been declining in North America. Learn simple ways to promote the creature’s habitat in your backyard.