Monarch butterflies may finally receive U.S. Endangered Species Act protection due to evolving, and changing habitat loss that is having a serious impact on the population.
Monarch butterfly populations are declining at an astronomical rate. Scientists have estimated that the population has declined by as much as 90% over the last two decades, and they believe that is chiefly due to the destruction and elimination of farms that preserved them. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pointing to introducing protections against the species to ensure that they do not become extinct.
The dwindling population of milkweed plants is said to be one of the largest culprits behind challenging the monarch population the way it has been challenged in recent years. In fact, scientists have gone as far as to point out that the dwindling plant populations is largely due to over harvesting and increased cultivation. Monarchs actually require milkweed plants to lay their eggs, and ultimately begin the monarch life. Without them, it pretty much stops the cycle before it even begins.
Over the course of the next year though, various agencies will be conducting full reviews of the species, and doing more research to understand what the population looks like overall, and identifying where the population is headed. Although right now, it appears to be sitting in a very bad place. It’s worth noting that in 1996 1 billion monarchs migrated to Mexico, but last year only 35 million made the same journey across the United States and into Mexico. This has been a large talking point for those who have been advocating for monarchs and fighting for their future place in nature – since it seems to be getting regularly defeated by other parts of nature.
That said, with the numbers out and with the focus finally being on the monarch butterfly – scientists and government officials might finally be able to begin focusing on improving the overall quality of life for these monarchs and begin protecting them from further damage. As it stands right now, their population cannot take much more challenge before they dwindle to levels that the population cannot recover from. And now, with it appearing as though this has been a problem that has persisted for a long period of time – there isn’t really any more waiting that can be done before a real change is necessary.