The next time you're outside, you may want to take a closer look at what's around you. The monarch butterfly population is the highest it’s been in 12 years.
Trey Reid with Arkansas Game and Fish said compared to last year, the monarch butterfly population is up 144 percent.
"They weren't listed as endangered but there is some fear they could become an endangered species,” he said. “A lot of [the increase] probably has to do with favorable weather conditions during their migration during the spring and the fall.”
Reid said scientists aren't exactly sure why the population was on the decline for over a decade.
"But, a lot of it probably has to do with habitat loss; some of the plants that monarchs rely on for migration and their life cycle,” he said.
He also said pesticides could be to blame.
"Pesticide use can hurt all insects, not just the ones we're trying to get rid of,” Reid said.
But Reid said there has been a nationwide push to start saving the monarchs. He said wildlife agencies everywhere have made an effort to restore plants monarchs depend on.
"Milkweed has kind of gone down and as it has, so have monarch populations,” Reid said.
Milkweed is the only plant in which monarchs will lay their eggs. It's a naturally occurring plant in Arkansas.
"And sometimes milkweed is not a plant that farmers want,” Reid said.
Reid said Game and Fish recently planted more in its nature centers, just in time for their migration. They migrate from Canada all the way to Mexico in generations. So, if you'd also like to help save the monarchs, Reid said to start planting milkweed in your garden.
"Some of those plants in the spring, when they're producing, flowers are pretty important for monarchs, too,” he said.
Reid said the best place to view the monarchs is in Southwest Arkansas at the Grandview Prairie Conservation Center in Columbus.