Science

Endangered Monarch Butterflies Begin Migration From Canada To Mexico

The magnificent black and orange Monarch butterflies have begun their annual fall migration from Canada to Mexico, but the giant flock of migrating Monarchs is only a small fraction of the size it was a decade or ago as milkweed has been eradicated throughout most of Canada and the U.S. The milkweed that the  endangered Monarch Butterflies eat is nearly gone now because of the endemic use of glyphosate pesticides.

Endangered Monarch Butterflies Begin Migration From Canada To Mexico

The migration of the Monarchs this September is critical given serious population declines in past years. The estimated monarch butterfly population has declined by almost 20 fold, from one billion in 1997 to just 56.6 million today.

The only food supply for the Monarch’s in North America, the milkweed plant, has nearly been eradicated by the use of Monsanto’s popular weed-killing herbicide Roundup, which contains glyphosate.

Statement from National Resource Defense Council on Monarch butterflies migration

Rebecca Riley, an attorney with the National Resource Defense Council, noted earlier this summer that: “The monarch population that overwinters in Mexico has plummeted more than 90 percent in two decades – it is a perilous decline.”.

Riley continued to point out that “the drop is linked to the destruction of monarch habitat, as massive use of glyphosate in farm fields along the ‘Butterfly Highway’ through the U.S. and Canada has killed the milkweed plants monarch caterpillars need to survive. To preserve the spectacular monarch migration, we must act quickly, rather than spend years in deliberation as the crisis worsens.”

EPA wants more time to study Roundup and glyphosate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a couple of months ago that it is undertaking a five-year study of the effects of Roundup on more than 1,500 endangered species such as the Monarch. The study resulted from a settlement between the EPA and the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that sued the agency eight years ago for violating the Endangered Species Act.

“The EPA apparently plans to study the monarch migration to extinction, Dr. Sylvia Fallon, NRDC senior scientist, commented with visible bitterness in June. “It’s inexcusable for the EPA to call for more time to show glyphosate’s harm while at the same time approving new glyphosate-based pesticides that kill the sole food source monarchs need to live.”

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