Public asked to report monarch butterfly sightings in South

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FILE – In this June 2, 2019, file photo, a fresh monarch butterfly rests on a Swedish Ivy plant soon after emerging in Washington. Trump administration officials are expected to say this week whether the monarch butterfly, a colorful and familiar backyard visitor now caught in a global extinction crisis, should receive federal designation as a threatened species. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — Researchers are calling on the public to report monarch butterfly sightings in eight southern and Gulf states.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources announced the effort on Thursday.

Scientists want to hear about sightings from Dec. 1 to March 1 in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

The observations should be reported at journeynorth.org.

Researchers say the information may help conservation efforts by determining if the butterflies can spend the winter as non-breeding adults in the southern U.S. Monarch populations have declined significantly over the past two decades.

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