BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Last Thursday, July 21st, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added the Migratory Monarch Butterfly to its list of endangered species.

The IUCN estimates that the population of monarchs has been reduced as much as 70 percent in the last decade.

The Ross Park Zoo is encouraging local residents to take action to prevent their extinction.

The zoo is a partner with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums SAFE Monarch Butterfly Program. Through this program, zoos across the country are working to protect monarchs by taking action in conservation, educating the community, and promoting a reduction to the threats that monarchs face.

One goal of the SAFE Monarch Butterfly Program is to create a conservation corridor and connect the summer breeding locations of the butterfly’s with their winter habitats in Mexico and Southern California.

The zoo encourages people to plant native milkweed, a monarch’s primary food source. There are several locations throughout the Ross Park Zoo where there is milkweed, and plans are in the works to increase signage near the plants to educate visitors.

Illumination for Conservation is a fundraiser to support Ross Park’s conservation efforts, and showcases a butterfly tree lantern.

The fundraiser kicks-off on August 3rd and runs through October 16th from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance and can be found on the Ross Park Zoo website.