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Monarch Butterfly Populations Are Shrinking

The monarch butterflies of California are in serious, potentially catastrophic decline. As reported by The New York Times, the findings of a study conducted by the nonprofit group Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation saw the population of monarch butterflies in California decline 86 percent from last year’s numbers. A record low, with research indicating the problem may only get worse.


Since the 1970's, the total monarch butterfly population has declined by nearly 97%. A study from 2017 predicted the North American species had a 72 percent chance of becoming near extinct in 20 years.


What's the cause of this?


According to biologist Emma Pelton monarchs thrive off milkweed, a plant that has undergone a recent decline due to pesticide use and urban development. With a rapidly declining food source and habitat destruction on the rise, immediate action needs to be taken if the monarch butterfly is to recover.