The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced on July 21st that the migratory monarch butterfly has entered the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Endangered. There is a fear that there may not be enough butterflies surviving to prevent extinction.
Why the Migratory Monarch Butterfly is Endangered
What is this Particular Type of Butterfly?
The migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a subspecies of the monarch butterfly and migrates thousands of kilometers across America ever year. Starting their journey in Mexico and California during the winter, this butterfly travels to breeding grounds throughout America and Canada, travelling up to 4,000 kilometers in the process.
Key Statistics from the IUCN
According to the IUCN, the eastern population declined by 84% between 1996 and 2014. It’s estimated that the western population has declined by a staggering 99.9% from the 1980s to 2021. From around 10 million butterflies in the 1980s, to just 1,914 in 2021, the statistics are extremely concerning.
What Has Caused this Butterfly to Become Endangered?
Larges areas of the winter shelter the butterflies need in Mexico and California have been destroyed by deforestation and logging.
Agricultural pesticides and herbicides kill both the butterflies themselves and milkweed plants, which monarch butterfly larvae feed on.
Increasing levels of drought caused by climate change both limits the growth of milkweed and causes larger numbers of wildfires. Severe weather occurrences that have become more frequent due to climate change can kill the butterflies. An increased occurrence of extreme temperatures means that migrations can be triggered to take place too early, before milkweed plants are available.
What Needs to Change to Save the Migratory Monarch Butterfly?
- The planting of more native milkweed
- The planting of more native wildflowers into the fall to provide nectar
- Less pesticide and herbicide use
- The protection of forests and ecosystems
- The planting of more trees (find out how we're helping by partnering with Eden Reforestation Projects)
- A global focus on climate change and how to prevent it
Sadly the migratory monarch butterfly isn't the only species on the IUCN Red List, instead it's one of 147,517 species. All remaining species of sturgeon also joined the Red List on Wednesday, due to overfishing, poaching, water pollution and habitat loss.
There’s never been a more important time to spread the awareness of the effects of climate change and deforestation. BeCause Tees remains committed to producing clothing and accessories that promote change and a love for nature, plus whenever you shop with us, we donate 10% of every order to charitable organizations and 10 trees are planted for every item ordered. Shop our designs here.