ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A call to action from the BioPark asking all New Mexicans to do what they can to help the now endangered monarch butterfly. This comes as the few that remain prepare to migrate through our state. 

Anna Walker is the Species Survival Officer at BioPark and says the butterfly is a crucial species. “It’s also very important to ecosystems. It pollinates a huge number of plants across a really large range. So really important for plant diversity,” says Walker. 

Every year, the monarch butterfly migrates from southern Mexico and California — fanning out across the US and then returns home for the winter. While on their journey, some of them go through New Mexico. Experts say pesticides and the loss of habitat have contributed to the monarch’s decline in population since the 1990s.  

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This week, the migratory species was added to the endangered list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature — a move Biopark conservationists hope will bring awareness and funding to the issue and get residents to do their part, like planting milkweed, where the monarchs lay their eggs. 

“Anytime we can plant milkweed, monarchs will be happy. And other pollinators, other butterflies, enjoy the nectar from milkweed, as well. So it’s a really great plant to have in your gardens or in your parks,” says Walker. 

Drought, extreme storms, and wildfires are also wiping out their habitat. 

“A lot of the times, it’s really hard for people to imagine how a butterfly that could show up in their garden or in their city park might be threatened and, in this case, there’s just so many different threats,” says Walker. 

In 2019, Mayor Tim Keller signed a pledge to launch a campaign to increase the number of monarch-friendly plants and gardens at homes and parks around Albuquerque. KRQE News 13 asked Parks and Rec for an update on that campaign but couldn’t get any information.