There’s something special about the monarch butterfly — they may bring about fond memories from your childhood, or maybe it’s how they appear at just the right time to brighten your day. How sad to think that these feel-good creatures are being considered for the Endangered Species list.
Many have turned a blind eye to the world’s rapidly disappearing wildlife, including the Trump administration who’s being urged to grant the butterflies protection under the Endangered Species Act. The urgency is driven by their dramatic decline in numbers — on the California coastal groves where millions once migrated, they only expect to see about 10 000 this year.
“We may be witnessing the collapse of the monarch population in the West,” said Sarina Jepsen, director of conservation group Xerces Society’s endangered species program.
To put it in perspective the monarch population decreased 84% between 1997 and 2015, according to a 2016 US Geological Survey and Scripps Institution of Oceanography study. The cause? Climate change, crucial habitat loss, and the use of herbicides — specifically the use of the controversial glyphosate.
At the moment, monarchs are on the “threatened” list, but the push to make them an endangered species means that they “would guarantee that the monarch would get a comprehensive recovery plan and ongoing funding,” says Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. Here’s hoping it’s not too late.
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