Butterflies tagged at OKC Zoo found in Mexico

A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is pictured at a butterfly farm in the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City on April 7, 2017.
Millions of monarch butterflies arrive each year to Mexico after travelling more than 4,500 kilometres from the United States and Canada. / AFP PHOTO / Pedro Pardo (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Two Monarch butterflies tagged at the Oklahoma City Zoo last fall were found in Mexico.

A male butterfly, tagged on October 2, 2017, was found on February 20, 2018, in El Rosario, while a female butterfly, tagged on October 5, 2017, was found on February 10, 2018, in Sierra Chincua.

Last fall, OKC Zoo Education and Horticulture teams dedicated several hours over a three-week period to tag 60 monarchs.

The total number of tag recoveries was 928, with two of them being from the Oklahoma City Zoo.

Both locations the butterflies were found in are more than 1,200 miles from the zoo.

Staff at the zoo say the tagging program “provides vital information about migration patterns and how variables like temperature, weather patterns and habitat conditions affect the migration.”

They say Monarch butterflies fly up to 3,000 miles during their fall migration from Canada and the upper Midwest of the United States to overwintering grounds in Mexico each year.

OKC Zoo staff have been tagging monarchs each fall for the last 21 years.

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