RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - University of Richmond students raised monarch butterflies and released them to help monitor the species’ population.
The butterflies are tagged with a sticker for Monarch Watch.
Fifteen butterflies were released with more soon to emerge from their cocoons. The butterflies will migrate to Mexico where they spend the winter and return to the U.S. to lay eggs in the spring.
The university said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services is monitoring monarchs to determine if the species should be listed as threatened or endangered.
A decline in population for the colorful butterfly is due to increased pesticide usage and a decline in the propagation of milkweed. Monarchs only lay eggs on milkweed plants, so it is vital to their survival.
U of R said Monarchs have about a 2 to 3 percent survival rate of reaching adulthood in the wild, but a 70 to 90 percent success rate in captivity.