Monarch Migration in Danger of Dying Out
Gardeners urged to plant milkweed
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2014 2:55 AM CST
A Monarch butterfly perches on a tree at the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary in the mountains of Mexico's Michoacan state.    (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

(Newser) – A stunning phenomenon is in danger of disappearing: The annual migration of millions of monarch butterflies from Canada and the US to Mexico every year has sunk to its lowest level on record and is in grave danger of dying out, researchers warn. This winter, the hibernating butterflies coat 1.65 acres of trees in a protected Mexican forest, down 44% from last year. The butterfly itself is not endangered, but the migration is under pressure from factors including climate change, deforestation, and changes to agriculture along the route, National Geographic finds.

"The main culprit" is now genetically modified "herbicide-resistant corn and soybean crops and herbicides in the USA," which lead "to the wholesale killing of the monarch's principal food plant, common milkweed," a leading entomologist tells the AP. To help the migration survive, researchers would like to see milkweed incorporated in plantings along areas like roadsides, and they urge gardeners to help by planting milkweed and making their gardens more butterfly-friendly.

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Showing 3 of 23 comments
Ezekiel 25:17
Feb 2, 2014 9:53 PM CST
Some of them make it to Europe where there is no milk weed. That's a serious wrong turn at Albuquerque.
Jeff Davis
Feb 1, 2014 7:27 AM CST
Snow and cold temperatures have been decimating the Butterflies in the Mexico reserves during their over wintering. Its Climate change alright but not warming....
Jan 30, 2014 10:15 PM CST
Now we know why butterflies are disappearing! THIS guy has been eating them: :-)