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Monarch Butterfly Possibly a Threatened Species

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US – The Monarch Butterfly is one of the most recognizable species in North America and due to Habitat loss and fragmentation, pesticides that can destroy milkweed, and changing climate has threatened the insect.

Numbers have decreased steadily over the last 20 years, but last year because of favorable weather conditions in the east last spring, the monarch population that overwinters in Mexico increased by 144 percent, crossing just above the projected threshold of migratory collapse. Simultaneously, the western population that overwinters in California plunged by nearly 86 percent, falling below the population size scientists say is needed to avoid extinction.

“Monarch butterflies clearly warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act, and we urge the Service to propose them for listing by the end of next year,” said George Kimbrell, legal director at the Center for Food Safety.

“Monarch butterfly population sizes are incredibly vulnerable to climate change effects, so they are in urgent need of protection,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We need to take action now to avert climate catastrophe for butterflies and all wildlife, as well as ourselves.”

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The Trump Administration is expected to announce this week if it supports protecting the Monarch under the Endangered Species Act. Climate change, development, and heavy Farm use of herbicides have wiped out well over a hundred million acres of habitat for the orange and black butterfly. This was part of the extension agreement made in May of 2019.

If the Trump administration deems the butterfly endangered it will open up grants and monies and may change how the US farms with herbicides.