Monarch Butterfly Species Added to Endangered Species List

Monarch Butterfly Species Added to Endangered Species List

Climate change and change in habitants have led to a decrease in butterflies.

A species of the monarch butterfly was recently added to the endangered species list.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added the migratory monarch butterfly to its Red List of Threatened Species, according to a press release.

In the last 10 years, the migratory monarch butterfly population has decreased between 22 and 72 percent. In the west, the population has declined up to potentially 99.9 percent, down from nearly 10 million butterflies to 1,914 from the 1980s to 2021, the press release said. In the east, the butterfly population decreased by 84 percent in a much smaller time period, 18 years since 2014.

Logging, “pesticides and herbicides” and climate change were cited in the press release as factors to the decline. Increased logging leads to fewer areas for the butterflies. The plants butterflies use for food are negatively impacted by “pesticides and herbicides” and drought; and higher temperatures require them to migrate when the plants aren’t available. Severe weather also kills the butterflies.

Experts are not sure if the population is high enough to avoid extinction.

“To preserve the rich diversity of nature we need effective, fairly governed protected and conserved areas, alongside decisive action to tackle climate change and restore ecosystems. In turn, conserving biodiversity supports communities by providing essential services such as food, water and sustainable jobs,” said Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General, in the press release.

The IUCN is an international environmental network with more than 1,400 members. IUCN works with members and experts on sustainability.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Environmental Protection.

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