Monarch butterfly becoming an endangered species

The monarch butterfly population globally is shrinking at an alarming rate – according to scientists. Though the shrinking of the population is something that has been happening for nearly two decades now, scientists and government agencies are now stepping in to possibly begin protecting the soon-to-be endangered species. The US Fish & Wildlife Service announced earlier this week that they would be conducting a year-long review on the species, and determining whether the monarch butterfly would soon be labeled an endangered species.


Monarch butterflies would receive protection under the Endangered Species Act which would ensure that it was federally recognized that the species was either “endangered” or “threatened,” something many activists have been calling for, for years. The disappearance of the milkweed plant seems to be the primary cause of the dwindling population. Scientists have determined that the overall number of butterflies on Earth has decreased by a whopping 90% in the last twenty years. Something that has been unnerving to activists and scientists alike. However, the cause of the disappearance of the milkweed plant is far from natural.

The disappearance of the milkweed plant – which is a monarch’s primary food source, is said to be disappearing due to herbicide-intensive agricultural practices. These practices which are making it impossible for monarch’s to survive is mostly dominant in the Midwest of the United States. Scientists first began to notice that fewer than normal number of monarch’s were actually making it down to Mexico – where they spend their winters – just about 20 years ago. It was in August of 2014 though when conservation groups began petitioning the US Fish & Wildlife Service to work on putting protections in place to ensure that monarch’s didn’t become extinct – at the rate at which they were disappearing.

Many have contributed the forceful work of these conservation groups as being the primary drivers behind changing the policies and protections that exist for these critical butterflies. Now though, scientists and federal officials might finally be taking the appropriate steps to preserving a once plentiful species that has now dwindled to become a shell of its old self. This proves that the next year, to three years will be absolutely crucial for the future of the monarch butterfly, and that if the proper steps are not taken – extinction could become a reality for the species as a whole.