CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — Monarch butterflies, a species on the endangered list, are currently migrating across the St. Louis metro area on their way to Central Mexico.

Habitat destruction due to extreme weather and human interference poses a significant threat to their survival. Climate change and habitat loss have led to a decline in their numbers, prompting concerns about their future.

Tad Yankoski, a senior entomologist at the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, emphasizes the urgency of preserving monarch habitats. Monarchs travel a vast distance, from the United States to Central Mexico, where they hibernate during the winter.

Not every monarch makes this journey, as migration happens only every third or fourth generation, yet preserving their habitat is crucial.

Efforts to protect monarch habitats benefit not only these butterflies but also numerous other plant and animal species facing similar challenges.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is actively involved in habitat restoration initiatives, including the native butterfly garden at the Butterfly House in Chesterfield. This garden provides vital resources for monarchs, such as nectar and resting spots, during their migration.

Conservation efforts are essential for the survival of monarch butterflies and the wider ecosystem because their migration is a crucial natural phenomenon that is in danger from habitat destruction.