They form a kaleidoscope cloud of orange, black, and white as they flutter by. The Monarch butterfly, true to its name is a grand sight to behold. However, their numbers are dwindling according to The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. The organization estimates that since the 1990s there has been an estimated 80 % decline in population.
The number of butterflies making migration is estimated to be around 56.6 million. Due to the urgency of the situation, partnerships across the U.S. are coming into action to help recover and restore this decreasing population. In the works is a monarch breeding habitat to conserve these species before they completely disappear.
According to scientist, this drop in population is mostly due to the threat of losing milkweed, a plant that is instrumental in sustaining the lives of monarch caterpillars. With an excessive rise in use of herbicide, the plant is dying out and so is the caterpillar that relies on it for sustenance. However, there are other contributing factors are responsible such as: climate change.
Earlier in the year, the Obama Administration and some conversation groups launched efforts to stop the declining population of the monarch butterflies. Action plan is to grow two million dollars’ worth of milkweed from Minnesota to Mexico, a route that is the main migration route for the butterflies.
Recently, a biologist with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department stated that the state may play an important factor in helping to sustain the monarch butterfly population.
The biologist, Mark Ferguson, says that meadows and fields in the state can provide a nice habitat to house milkweed, the very plant crucial to early monarch butterfly life. That way, when the monarch butterflies migrate back north after the winter season is over they then have the perfect habitat in which to lay their eggs. There, the young caterpillars feast on the milkweed plant to eventually grow into the monarch butterflies we see flying on their season migration.