Monarchs are getting ready to fly north after wintering in Mexico, but when the spring migration comes, Oklahoma could see fewer monarchs making their way through the Sooner State.

In February, scientists said that the number of monarchs are down drastically compared to other years. And Oklahoma is partly to blame.

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According to the U.S. Forest Service, Oklahoma is part of the monarch migration every spring and fall. During the spring, monarchs are returning to the United States from Mexico after seeking a warmer climate for the winter.

U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Forest Service

And in the fall, monarchs start making their way back to Mexico through Oklahoma.

U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Forest Service

Why is Oklahoma to blame for low monarch numbers?

Well, it isn't just Oklahoma to blame for the low monarch numbers. It's most of the United States, but Oklahoma plays a big role in the monarch migration.

According to a story from KOCO, this year's monarch numbers are the second lowest in recorded history. The story stated that "the monarch population has decreased by 59.3 percent due to the weather conditions in its migration route."

The ongoing drought in Oklahoma, Texas and Mexico have caused a decline in milkweed, according to an article from the New York Times, which is "the only plants monarch caterpillars can eat, as well as the availability of nectar from many kinds of flowers, which they feed on as butterflies."

So an extensive drought means less plants which means less monarchs.

Here's how you can help the monarchs.

If you're a gardener or you're wanting to help the monarchs, there are some ways Oklahomans can help the monarchs on their next migration. According to the KOCO article, Oklahomans can plant milkweed and drought-tolerant native wildflowers. Color Oklahoma is a project of the Oklahoma Native Plant Society, and has plenty of resources on how to plant your own native wildflowers and the best places to source your seeds.

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