Monarch Butterfly Numbers

The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced in December that it would begin a year-long evaluation of whether or not the Monarch Butterfly should be placed under federal protection due to habitat loss, writes Vice News.

Vice stated that monarch butterfly populations have declined “an average of 90 percent in the last two decades.”

So, Vice claims that Monarch Butterfly populations have dropped by 90 percent.  This would seem to the layman to be an enormous decline.

One of the winter habitats in Mexico for the orange butterflies is being destroyed by illegal logging, leaving less space for those that will be fluttering down from the United States and Canada in the coming weeks.

A crackdown by Mexican authorities reduced illegal logging in the Piedra Herrada butterfly sanctuary northwest of Mexico City to zero by 2012, said Omar Vidal, director-general of the World Wildlife Fund’s Mexico arm. However, since then, logging has returned to one of the communities surrounding the sanctuary, and aerial and satellite imagery documented 47 acres of trees cut down in the past year, Vidal told Vice.

“There has been a tremendous effort by the community, the government, and other partners to stop the illegal activity, on the one hand by enforcement and on the other side by investing in the communities to develop sustainable communities,” Vidal said. “But one of those communities didn’t take care of their forest.”

“Even though the actual trees that the monarchs are using are not being cut down, the adjacent illegal logging is having that ripple effect,” David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation, told Vice News.

Action is also being taken in the U.S. to help the Monarch Butterfly.

According to the SCTimes, within the Minnesota-to-Texas Interstate Highway 35 migration corridor, U.S. Fish And Wilidlife Service aims to restore 200,000 acres of monarch habitat on public and private land.

“By helping save this one monarch butterfly, we could help save hundreds of other species,” said AnnaMarie Krmpotich, monarch coordinator for FWS’ Midwest Region.

“That list runs up the food chain,” writes SCTimes.  “A dozen butterfly species, including the endangered Poweshiek skipperling and the threatened Dakota skipper. Grassland birds such as the Henslow’s sparrow, grasshopper sparrow and bobolink. Ducks. Pheasants. Deer.”

(Updated post)


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