More distressing news for monarchs
By now, most of us know that our western population of monarch butterflies has suffered a devastating loss this year with fewer than 2,000 individuals counted in their overwintering sites along the California coast. Recent news about our eastern monarchs overwintering in Mexico isn't much better. According to scientists, eastern monarchs need to occupy at least 6 hectares of overwintering habitat to maintain a sustainable population; however, this year that number has been reduced to 2.10 hectares of monarchs. That is a massive decline and is down 26% from last year. This is very bad news.
So what do we do with this information? We act. Collectively, we need to secure additional habitat and improve existing habitat for monarchs, which will benefit all pollinators (always a plus) and help bring back both North American migrating monarch populations. By now, you've heard over and over that you need to stop using pesticides and start planting native flowering plants and regional milkweed. This is the time to become part of the solution, not part of the problem. If you won't give up pesticides, you are part of the problem. Plain and simple.
We can all do this if we work together. It's going to be a long process, but we've survived a pandemic together, we can surely bring back a butterfly on the brink. Let's do this.
Visit the Monarch Joint Venture website to see how you can become involved in monarch conservation.