After an 80% decrease in population of the Monarch Butterfly over 20 years, the species is going to be getting endangered species protection. But that protection simply won’t be enough and as a nation we are being asked to do our part to help save the Monarch.
As more and more land is being developed to make strip malls, apartment complexes, and whatever else we are losing more and more milkweed. Monarch Butterfly’s depend on milkweed to survive and reproduce, and there’s simply not enough of it around. Another big part of the lack of milkweed is farming, more specifically herbicides that are used on agricultural fields.
“One thing that monarchs need more than any other is a plant called, milkweed (Asclepias species). They cannot survive without it! Monarch females (do they call them Queens?) only lay their eggs on milkweed and their caterpillars eat only milkweed. As more and more land becomes developed, and family farms give way to larger industrial farms, milkweed is disappearing from the landscape.” Said Lynn Yougblood, Executive Director of the Blue River Watershed Association in Kansas City in an article on waynesvilledailyguide.com
All it takes to help is just simply planting some milkweed in your gardens and reporting how many eggs butterflies, and larvae you find to mission monarch. If it’s not possible for you to plant the milkweed yourself, you can go out and find some growing in the wild (their website should give you all the information needed to find it) and report what you find.
“Monarchs migrate to a southern home to overwinter in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico. (Monarchs in Western North America overwinter in California.) One generation of the monarch butterfly will fly south to Mexico, however, it may take three to four different generations to fly back to North America in the spring and summer.” Continued Youngblood.
The much-loved species travels from Canada, through the U.S. and into Mexico, where conservation of the Monarch’s localized wintering areas needs more protection, says The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), which notes that the Monarch butterfly is the first and only species to have its migration behavior to be designated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as a “threatened process.” Without immediate conservation action, “Monarch migration may disappear and Canada may lose this iconic species,” says Jennifer Heron with COSEWIC.
A survey conducted by WWF has also shown a 27% decrease of monarch occupied overwinter areas as compared to just one year ago.
“We cannot control the climate, but we can do much better in eradicating illegal logging in the reserve and tackling habitat loss in the U.S. and Canada. But, even if Mexico’s overwintering sites never lose another tree, without food and habitat along the migration routes the forests will soon bid farewell to their final orange and black-winged tenant.” said the WWF in a statement it release on February 9th.