University of Minnesota

Monarch Lab Stance on Captive Breeding and Releasing Monarchs

Posted on Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 8:06 am in Monarch Conservation Efforts

Today, a group of ten monarch researchers and conservationists from across the U.S. issued a statement highlighting concerns with the release of mass-reared monarch butterflies and recommended against the practice.

Following news of the dramatic decline in monarch numbers, some people are rearing large numbers of monarchs in backyard operations or obtaining them from commercial breeders or other organizations and releasing them with the goal of supplementing local populations. Rearing monarchs can offer excellent educational opportunities and encourage connections with nature, but releasing commercially-produced or otherwise mass-reared monarchs could actually harm the already dwindling monarch population.  Release of mass-reared monarchs has led to concerns about disease transmission, deleterious genetic effects, and negative impacts on monarch scientific research. For these reasons, summarized in the full statement below, the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab advises against the practice of mass-rearing monarchs and does not recommend the purchase of captive bred butterflies for release into the wild.  

Full Statement

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