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Acadiana woman saving and raising butterflies

Posted: 4:12 PM, Jun 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-22 18:38:57-04

Across the country, conservation efforts are underway to protect monarch butterflies, and that includes in Acadiana.

Monarchs are the orange, black and white creatures you probably picture first when you think of a butterfly.

“I think they’re beautiful, first of all, and they help the environment. They’re really the king of the butterflies. That’s why they’re named monarchs, says Wanda Stelly, who raises monarchs. She says their main food source, milkweed, is dying out and therefore, so are the butterflies.

Stelly has now made it her mission to save the monarchs. She started off with one milkweed plant in her backyard, hoping to attract a few females, and immediately, she was hooked.

“This is what happened: I ended up with a bunch of milkweed, and every year, the butterflies come, and the females lay on the milkweed, and I take them and put them in a cage, and I raise them, says Stelly. “It’s a commitment to take care of them and all, but once you see your first butterfly go, you’re hooked. I didn’t think that would happen to me, but last year, I let out 253, and so far this year, I have let out 215.”

If you’re now itching to raise monarchs, Stelly says to plant milkweed, and they will come.