According to recent reports, one of the most recognized species of butterflies that live in North America is the monarch butterfly. Unfortunately, the same reports suggest that the monarch is disappearing at an alarming rate and if we don’t do something to stop it, this beautiful species of butterfly could go extinct.
Conservationists say that one of the factors that led to the decrease in population is the changing land use. However, experts have figured out a way to save the monarch butterfly from extinction by planting lots of milkweed on a 200-mile piece of land that stretches along the I35 Highway that connects Minnesota with Kansas and Texas.
Karen Oberhauser, researcher at the University of Minnesota and one of the scientists involved in the study, explained that the only way to save the monarch butterfly is to concentrate on the prairie corridor and plant lots of milkweed.
Orley Taylor, professor of ecology at the University of Kansas, said that the milkweed land that the monarch butterfly lost since 1996 is approximately the size of Texas, which is why so many butterflies have disappeared, because they lost their main source of food. Taylor believes that by planting natural habitats is areas that are not usually used for crops, like school grounds, parks, residential and business areas, could be an efficient way of helping the monarch butterfly survive extinction.
Experts say that the butterflies’ population is declining alarmingly fast and something needs to be done as soon as possible, before we lose all the monarch butterflies.
Last year, several environmental agencies signed a petition and sent it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in order to get the monarch butterfly listed on the endangered species list. The agency is currently considering of doing it after closely analyzing the situation.
Conservationists have cited different factors that led to the decline of the species. The main reason for their disappearance is the massive logging that takes place in the mountain forests of Mexico, which deprived the monarch of protection against harsh winter conditions. The low number of trees is the number one cause that leads to the butterflies’ decline.
Also, climate change and extreme weather conditions, like floods and drought, are responsible for the disappearance of milkweed plants the butterflies use for laying and hatching their eggs.
The monarch butterfly is known for its mass migration that brings millions of specimens to California and Mexico every winter. In order to make the journey, the butterflies need to fly more than 3,000 miles.
Image Source: googleusercontent