Monarch Butterflies Have Now Officially Been Labelled As Endangered
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The monarch butterfly, one of the most recognised and beloved insect species, is one step closer to extinction after officially being labelled as endangered.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) moved the orange and black butterfly to the endangered list, with scientists warning they could be wiped out if we don’t intervene.
Member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Butterfly, who led the assessment, Anna Walker, said: “It’s hard for people to imagine that something that shows up in their backyard is threatened.”
The IUCN estimates that around 22 and 77 per cent (depending on the measuring method) have declined over the past 10 years in North America.
NEWS: Habitat destruction and #ClimateChange are threatening the migratory monarch butterfly with #extinction, according to the latest @IUCNRedList update. https://t.co/ZYlCSEYKaB pic.twitter.com/iGx6CRF7lR— IUCN (@IUCN) July 21, 2022
However, the western population has declined by 99.9 per cent from the 1980s - 2021, putting them at immediate risk.
The declining number of monarch butterflies is due to several factors.
The main one being habitat destruction, which has occurred excessively in the past few decades.
Many pesticides, including glyphosate herbicide, used in agriculture, have killed monarch butterflies as well as milkweed, the plant where they lay their eggs.
The climate crisis has also contributed significantly, as fires and droughts have killed their habitats and other plants the insect relies on for survival.
Member nonprofit Xerces Society, which monitors the western butterflies, Emma Pelton said that tree logging and deforestation have also killed many habitats, according to TIME.
“There are things people can do to help,” she said while suggesting planting more milkweed blossoms.
The executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation Scott Hoffman Black also told CNN: “Fortunately, There’s still time to act.”
He added: "We are encouraged by the thousands of individuals who have made it their mission to help monarchs by planting milkweed and nectar flowers and protecting these animals from pesticides.”
Conservationist Wendy Caldwell also told that outlet: "I think that this IUCN listing will continue to help us grow that momentum just by generating awareness that monarchs are in trouble.
"They need our help, and everybody has a role to play."
Currently, more than 147,500 species are on The IUCN Red (endangered) List, with scientists warning that the Earth is undergoing a sixth mass extinction event, led by human activity.
Additionally, more than 41,000 species are threatened with extinction, with the IUCN desperately trying to reverse the rapid decline of biodiversity.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy Stock Photo.
Topics: World News, News, Animals, Environment