NewsProtecting Paradise


New effort to save monarch butterflies in Florida

Posted at 6:23 PM, May 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-24 18:23:40-04

WPTV is committed to Protecting Paradise. We are focused on environmental issues with a goal of helping to bring awareness to existing problems and search for workable solutions. Have a story idea? Email us at

If you’ve recently come across a butterfly with what looks like a sticker on its wing, you aren’t losing your mind.

🦋 SPECIAL COVERAGE: Protecting Paradise 🦋

There’s a statewide push right now to save monarch butterflies, using information collected through a tagging research project.

Just about every morning, Shawn Woods is up before sunrise checking on butterflies in her backyard.

"Most of our monarchs here in Florida, they are non-migratory," said Woods. "They live here. They are kind of like the snowbirds. They’ve retired here. They like it."

They may like it, but they aren’t staying alive very long.

Research out of the University of Florida shows since 2005, 80 percent of the state's monarch butterfly population has been wiped out.

"It's actually a spore that lives on the outside of the butterflies body," said Joyce Samsel.

Ingesting too much during the caterpillar phase can be deadly. That’s why the Florida Monarch Research and Education Project, a non-profit out of Cape Coral, is recruiting citizen scientists from all over the state.

This North Palm Beach couple has the routine down: test, tag, and release.

"We just have to treasure, treasure everything that we have here, you know, and protect it for future generations," said Woods.

If you do see a butterfly with a tag, it’s recommended you take a picture and try to get the tag number. You can then insert that number on a tracking website by clicking here.