Monarch butterflies are now on endangered ‘red list’

by | Jul 21, 2022 | World

The butterflies are imperiled by loss of habitat, increased use of pesticides for agriculture and climate change.The migratory monarch butterfly, which has for millennia turned North American woodlands into kaleidoscopes of colour in one of nature’s most spectacular mass migrations, has been put on a list of endangered species amid fast-dwindling numbers.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Thursday added the migrating monarch butterfly for the first time to its “red list” of threatened species and categorised it as “endangered” — two steps from extinct.
“It’s just a devastating decline,” said Stuart Pimm, an ecologist at Duke University who was not involved in the new listing. “This is one of the most recognisable butterflies in the world.”

BREAKING NEWS: Migratory monarch butterfly now Endangered – @IUCNRedList https://t.co/ZYlCSEYKaB pic.twitter.com/0CSJdSzv8O
— IUCN (@IUCN) July 21, 2022

The group estimates that the population of monarch butterflies in North America has declined between 22 percent and 72 percent across 10 years, depending on the measurement method.
“What we’re worried about is the rate of decline,” said Nick Haddad, a conservation biologist at Michigan State University. “It’s very easy to imagine how very quickly this butterfly could become even more imperiled.”
Haddad, who was not directly involved in the listing, estimated that the population of monarch butterflies he studied in the eastern United States has declined between 85 percent and 95 percent since the 1990s.
In North America, millions of monarch butterflies undertake the longest migration of any insect species known to science.
After wintering in the mountains of central Mexico, the butterflies migrate to the north, breeding multiple generations along the way for thousands of kilometres. The offspring that reach southern Canada then begin the trip bac …

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