The Amazing Monarch Story
New research shows most Americans place importance on the protection of the ailing monarch butterfly.
The study, released in Conservation Letters, discovered almost three-quarters of those surveyed support conservation efforts for the well-known species, and also agree to invest several billion dollars to aid.
The annual movement of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) is one of nature’s most lovely sights.
Millions of the butterflies move each year from the as far north as Nova Scotia all the way down to wintering grounds in the woodlands of Mexico.
However, annually fewer and less monarch butterflies make the journey, as populations have actually been declining across The United States and Canada for about 15 years.
To approximate population size, scientists determined monarch numbers while they were assembled en mass at their wintering grounds. During the 2013-2014 winter, the butterflies covered 0.67 hectares in Mexico’s woodlands, a decline of 44 percent from 2012.
In general, the average monarch butterfly coverage from 1994-2014 was 6.39 hectares– nearly 10 times more than the 2013 estimation.
Much of the decline in monarch numbers has actually been blamed on the loss of milkweed, the native plants on which monarch caterpillars feed.
“In the United States, the growing use of genetically-modified, herbicide-tolerant plants, such as corn and also soybeans, has resulted in a serious decrease in milkweed, and therefore a loss of breeding habitat.
The findings of the research study revealed more than half of the American respondents were “not ” of the decreases in monarch populations, while 39 percent recognized with the concern. Seventy percent of those questioned believed preserving monarchs was important, while 3 percent stated it was not important.
The study asked participants throughout the United States whether they would be happy to contribute money for the conservation of monarchs, and whether they would pay to grow monarch-friendly nectar or milkweed plants.