01 Oct Monarch Butterflies in Severe Decline
Eastern Monarch Decline (monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains) : Twenty years ago, there Were 1 Billion Monarch Butterflies. In 2019, there were 95 million monarchs overwintering in Michoacán, Mexico oyamel fir tree forests. A decline of 98%.
Western Monarch Decline (monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains – Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Colorado and Arizona) : Twenty years ago, there were 1.5 Million monarchs overwintering in central coast California. In 2019, there were a mere 27,000. A decline of 99% and considered quasi-extinction level.
What is the reason for the severe decline of eastern and western monarch butterflies?
Three Primary Reasons:
1. Habitat Loss due to Agricultural land use and Urbanization.
Agriculture plowed down native nectar plants and native milkweed to grow crops. This eliminated significant amounts of host plant (milkweed) and feed plants (nectar plants) necessary
for monarch reproduction and sustenance.
Urbanization, likewise, removed native species and landscaped with popular cultivated landscape material.
2. Pesticide Use.
Agriculture and urban communities have increased their use of pesticides over the past 20 years as well as using a new class of pesticides, noenicitinoids and glyphosate (RoundUp), which drift
onto neighboring properties and lands around agriculture, creating poisonous byways and killing pollinators including bees and butterflies. Many of these pesticides are now banned in Europe,
but widely used in the US. They pose an on-going and significant threat to pollinators but to humans as well. Many of these pesticides were thought to be harmless to humans when created
20 years ago and are now being found to cause cancers in humans.
3. Global Warming.
Warmer fall and earlier spring due to warming climate causes monarchs to awaken from overwintering (semi-hibernation) earlier, seeking nectar plants and milkweed. These plants
are not necessarily ready with leaves and flowers at the same time any more. The recalibration of animal and invertebrate reproduction and the alignment of food source availability
is being impacted worldwide, affecting the survival rate of progeny.
A very informative article about how the iconic Monarch Butterflies have declined 98% in the last 20 years.
Humans have caused it, and humans can and must reverse it. Monarch butterflies not only bring awe, beauty and wonder to our lives,
they are vital pollinators for flowers from which bees get nectar and then pollinate our crops.
Without pollinators, there is no agriculture—and without that, there is no food.
What can YOU do?
1. Get informed (read the above article).
2. Sign petitions, call senators and representatives when asked to get pesticides banned that are negatively impacting humans, animals, bees and butterflies.
Help get RoundUp/glyphosate banned and off the market.
3. Stop using RoundUp and other pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in your garden. Go to council and HOA meetings and speak up about stopping
the use of RoundUp in your city and community. Try to ONLY use organic methods to fertilize and fight off pests.
4. Contact EPA and ask that monarchs be put on the Endangered Species List.
5. Stay informed. Read more from the key non-profit organizations that are diligently working to save Monarch Butterflies:
http://www.monarchwatch.org – a non-profit dedicated to informing the public about how to plant milkweed waystations (gardens) and providing certification of
waystations and signage.
http://www.monarchjointventure.org – a non-profit created to help distribute funds from US government to rebuild habitat for monarch butterflies
http://www.xerces.org – Find out what native milkweed and native nectar plants apply to your area. Order seeds.
My Blog: https://tinyurl.com/SusieMonarchBlog
Gorgeous Monarchs born in my garden – FEMALE on the right; MALE on the left.
To help promote awareness of the plight of monarch butterflies, purchase greeting cards from
Susie’s Butterfly photo cards and let others know. Percent of proceeds go to non-profits working to
save monarch butterflies. http://www.svgreetingcards.com