Habitat Loss, Climate Change Threaten Iconic Monarch Butterfly
Monday, August 1, 2022
An insect species which can evoke childhood memories is in trouble, and has just been added to the Red List of Threatened Species compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
The orange and black migratory monarch butterfly population has dropped 95% from the 1980s to 2020.
Rebecca Quiñonez-Piñón, chief monarch recovery strategist for the National Wildlife Federation, explained effects from climate change meant milkweed was not blooming during the monarch's migration last spring, preventing the butterflies from laying eggs.
She said milkweed is not as common as it used to be across the U.S.
"The main issue is the fact that we continue to lose native habitat," Quiñonez-Piñón emphasized. "So, the monarch struggles to survive and maintain a really good population size."
Pesticides sprayed on crops also can inadvertently kill milkweed growing in nearby ditches. Advocates are urging lawmakers to pass the Monarch Action, Recovery and Conservation of Habitat Act to establish a rescue fund and create a conservation strategy.
Quiñonez-Piñón pointed out people can help the imperiled species by buying plants from nurseries following best practices for pollinators and turn their yards and gardens into monarch habitat.
"We can provide the native milkweed," Quiñonez-Piñón stressed. "We can provide native nectar plants that can help the monarchs also to have a source of food while they are migrating."
She believes many people have an emotional connection to the iconic butterfly, citing reverence for the insect In Mexico, where their migratory arrival in winter coincides with the country's "Day of the Dead" festival.
"It's a great ambassador; it's in so many different places," Quiñonez-Piñón noted. "That also creates that connection between different communities and cultures."
Advocates say the Recovering America's Wildlife Act, passed by the House of Representatives but awaiting a vote in the Senate, would dedicate almost $1.4 billion dollars to help save multiple wildlife species at risk.
get more stories like this via email
Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said a bill to require Maine voters to present photo identification in order to cast ballots is unnecessary and coul…
A bill to increase tax credits in the Commonwealth is backed up by research showing the credits lead to better nutrition for working families and bett…
Part of the deal Wyoming struck for sending its water down the Colorado River was that state residents would be able to tap electricity generated at G…
Wisconsin's primary election is two weeks away, and a high-profile state Supreme Court race is on the ballot. Several advocacy groups are behind a …
A coalition of conservation groups is giving Colorado's revised state water plan a thumbs-up for its increased focus on protecting Colorado's rivers…
Victims of investment-related fraud in North Dakota could soon recoup some of their losses through a proposed restitution fund. A bill to establish …
West Virginia is among a handful of states with the highest increases in educational attainment between 2019 and 2021, according to a new report from …
The state's "divisive concepts" law is preventing educators from holding rational discussions about race relations in America, New Hampshire civil …