TOPEKA (KSNT) – Monarch butterflies are getting a helping hand from the City of Topeka.

A photo of a milkweed plant. (Photo Courtesy/City of Topeka)

The city’s utilities department gave a short update on Tuesday regarding recent efforts to help monarchs, one milkweed at a time.

A total of 400 milkweed plants were planted on June 9 by Water Pollution Control personnel. The plants have since become established and recent rainfall has helped them flourish. These plants are a vital part of the life cycle of monarch butterflies.

Monarch butterflies were recently placed on the “red list” of threatened species and categorized as “endangered” for the first time by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The population decline has been linked to habitat loss, climate change and pesticide/herbicide use.

Milkweed is the only plant monarch caterpillars eat. It’s also where adult butterflies lay their eggs. Experts say the loss of this plant could lead to the eventual extinction of the monarch butterfly.

For more information on how to help monarch butterflies and to learn more about the type of milkweed plants that they feed on, click here.