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Contact: Erickson Smith, 207-288-8726
Monarch butterflies are one of the most easily recognized butterflies in Acadia and all across North America. However, the monarch population is thought to have declined by more than 70% in the last decade. To help understand the decline, park staff will be working with scientists and conservation specialists across the country by protecting areas of milkweed habitat found in the park and being watchful for the adults and caterpillars. The young monarch caterpillars depend on milkweed plants to nourish them and give them a special chemical defense against predators, which they obtain from their special diet of milkweed sap.
Acadia is just one of about 50 parks to receive special funding this year to map locations of milkweed habitat, check these sites to learn if there are caterpillars or other life stages, and then to document when and where adults are observed. Information coming from these efforts will be shared with visitors so they become aware of the plight of this well-known butterfly and can help with efforts locally and wherever they call home. The reports of visitors and local residents can greatly expand and extend the efforts of park staff by giving current information on the locations of milkweed plants and monarch butterflies, as it is likely there is ample milkweed habitat outside the park. Visitors or local residents can contact the park at 207-288-3338 to report where they see or find milkweed growing on the island or if they observe adult monarchs in or outside of the park.Additional information about monarchs and milkweed plants can be obtained from park staff or by contacting Erickson Smith or Bruce Connery at 207-288-8726.