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Local monarch butterflies are about to embark on an epic journey

Posted at 6:20 AM, Aug 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-25 16:54:37-04

Monarchs are about to embark on a 2,000 to 3,000 mile journey, from Western New York all the way down to Mexico. 

They'll travel 50 miles a day, through heat and cold. And if they're successful, they'll end up in the mountainous regions of Mexico, near Mexico City by early November. 

"They'll migrate in the middle of September. Most of them migrate together, you always have some stragglers" says David O'Donnell, owner of Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm. Dave has been raising butterflies for 15 years. He runs one of the only Butterfly Farms in all of New York State.

The Monarch Butterfly population has significantly decreased over the past decade. Agricultural practices in the U.S. such as the use of herbicides have too led to the decline of milkweed, a plant monarch caterpillars can't live without. It's their only source of food.

Adult butterflies can live without it. However, milkweed is the only plant female monarchs lay their eggs on. 

Deforestation in their resting habitat in Mexico, as well as bad winters have too played a role in the decrease of the monarch butterfly population.

The farm is closed to the public. However, you can catch Dave at the Clarence Hollow Farmers Market every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dave will be releasing 150-200 monarch butterflies into the air at 11 a.m. this Saturday.