To save monarch butterflies, U.S launches $3.2 million campaign

monarch-1-537x354

The alarming decline of the endangered monarch butterflies has propelled the U.S government to take appropriate measures to arrest the possibility of an extinction of this rare and beautiful species of butterfly. It has been reported, that the monarch butterflies have reduced by 90% in the last two decades, leaving a handful of them around the globe. The pesticides and herbicide are known to be the major culprits for this situation, along with loss of wintering habitats in California and Mexico. This initiative is a desperate attempt to restore pollinator habitat and health, for an all round solution to this grieving problem.

monarch-2

The U.S government has thrown up 3.2 million for the campaign to save the butterflies, that once so numerous that they could be spotted in just about any field or yard in North America. Since 1990, Monarch butterfly population has shrunk sharply. After steep and steady declines in the previous three years, the black-and-orange butterflies now cover only 1.65 acres (0.67 hectares) in the pine and fir forests west of Mexico City, compared to 2.93 acres (1.19 hectares) last year. They covered more than 44.5 acres (18 hectares) at their recorded peak in 1995. These butterflies serve as indicators of pollinator health, and at the rate that they’ve been dying off, the situation looks rather grim. As their wintering habitats down south have been cleared for the sake of farmland, and native wildflower species are pulled out or poisoned away, these vital pollinators are at risk of disappearing forever. In an attempt to resurrect the numbers,  the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has established a Garden for Wildlife program, which encourages gardeners to help pollinators thrive by planting native species, and avoiding the use of chemicals in their yards.

Lincoln Brower, a leading entomologist at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, wrote that “the migration is definitely proving to be an endangered biological phenomenon.”

Experts however concluded, that Milkweed is the main food source for Monarchs, and the NWF is asking people across the country to help plant this species around to increase the numbers. Yards, schools, campuses, places of worship, parks, and community gardens have been asked to plant more in order to create sanctuaries where pollinators can feed and rest safely. The NFWF Monarch Conservation Fund, has a start-up of $1.2 million, and it’s expected, that a matching amount will be sourced from a variety of public and private donors. The goal is to restore 200,000 acres of natural monarch butterfly habitat. Founders are coaxing all Americans to help this endeavor by planting milkweed around their homes, and by ditching chemical fertilizers and weed-killers.

Via: The Guardian