Distressing news for western monarch butterflies
Overwintering female monarch butterfly nectaring on a eucalyptus flower in Santa Cruz, California. Photo by Naturedigger.
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (Xerces) has released its final tally of western monarch butterflies overwintering along the California coast. The news is dire and distressing to say the least. Fewer than 2,000 monarchs were recorded during the annual Xerces Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, which is alarmingly lower than the previous two years' totals of just under 30,000. These dangerously low numbers indicate the western monarch population is nearing collapse.
Xerces has attributed the sharp decline in the western population to loss of overwintering, breeding and migratory habitat in California as well as pesticide use.
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