The number of Monarch butterflies that made it to Mexico last year was so small, many now question if the population will ever rebound to its previous size.
The number of Monarch butterflies that made it to Mexico last year was so small, the many now question if the population will ever rebound to its previous size.
In 1996, enough of them successfully migrated to occupy 45 acres of forestland. In December of last year only about an acre and a half was claimed by the butterflies.
That’s a record low, and the third consecutive year the figures have dropped.
Some of the Monarchs’ failure to complete the journey can be attributed to the extreme weather, but most of the issue remains the loss of their natural habitats along the way.
GMO, herbicide-tolerant crops have resulted in the increased use of weed killers, and the disappearance of milkweed, a plant vital to the Monarch’s survival.
Some believe that if they’d had places to stop, fortify, and reproduce along the way, more would likely have made it in spite of the climate conditions.
Said one expert of the current state of the Monarch, “It’s probably where the passenger pigeon was a year or two before they went extinct.”