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Monarchs Considered for Endangered Species Status January 23, 2015
Monarch on milkweed
“The (monarch) loss is so staggering that in human-population terms it would be like losing every living person in the United States except those in Florida and Ohio.” — Tierra Curry, senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.
A plunge in the number of monarch butterflies across North America may lead to the insects being offered protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The population of the long-haul migrators has dropped as much as 90 percent during the past two decades, and conservationists say the destruction of milkweed is the main factor behind the decline.

Monarchs need the plant both to feed and to reproduce. But the widespread use of the Monsanto herbicide Roundup in agriculture has nearly wiped out the once abundant plant.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will begin a review of vulnerable species in response to a petition that calls for stronger protections for the monarchs.

Experts say nearly 1 billion monarchs migrated to Mexico in 1996 compared to slightly fewer than 35 million last year.

Photo: File