Endangered Monarch

Posted by Sandy R-B on Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:25 pm

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The US Monarch population is in peril from loss of habitat to human development, pesticides, and climate change. From 4.5 million monarchs in the 80's, the last count in 2018 estimated less than 25,000 remaining.  
It is being considered for the Endangered list, but that decision has been delayed for a year because of a very slight improvement - . 
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The  favorable weather conditions in the US east last spring allowed the monarch population that overwinters in Mexico to increase  by 144 percent, crossing just above the projected threshold of migratory collapse. Simultaneously, the western population that overwinters in California plunged by nearly 86 percent, falling below the population size scientists say is needed to avoid extinction.[/font]

There are several monarch research groups, including ours in Brookings, who work to shelter, breed (naturally), raise, tag, release and track monarch caterpillars and butterflies. I have about 85 pupa (chrysalis stage) in our greenhouse at this point.   
Please report a tagged butterfly sighting and try to get the code on it's wing. And plant milkweed!

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by SantaFeJoe on Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:13 pm
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Glad you posted this info. Another factor that is causing the decimation of the Monarchs is that GMO crops are sprayed with Roundup, thus killing many flowering plants that bees and butterflies depend on, including milkweed. Our photos may end up being the last for the species if nothing drastic is done to stop the killing of plants they depend on.

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by Tom Whelan on Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:40 pm
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Nice image, great you are getting the word out about Monarchs. Another factor is logging in the upland forests in Mexico where they overwinter. I see much less milkweed, but I have seen numbers of Monarchs this fall.

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by cwdavis on Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:59 pm
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Gorgeous specimens, so fresh they look like paintings.
Thank you for your efforts, Sandy -- losing the Monarchs would be a terrible thing!
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Chapel Hill, NC

by Cynthia Crawford on Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:56 pm
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Thanks for you thoughtful post Sandy. Monarch have been doing great here this year, and I've been "helping" a few. But there's no promise that they will do well over time. I haven't had quite the courage to put stickers on them-maybe next year if we get more. And yes! Plant milkweed!
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by Sandy R-B on Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:51 pm
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cwdavis wrote:
Gorgeous specimens, so fresh they look like paintings.
Thank you for your efforts, Sandy -- losing the Monarchs would be a terrible thing!

Just released - emerged from chrysalis  2 hours ago, need 2 hours to dry wings, then are tagged and released. They don't get any fresher! 

by Paul Rossi on Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:08 pm
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The widespread use of the herbicide RoundUp (which kills milkweed) on monoculture crops (corn, soy) along with farming methods that leave no natural habitat close to the fields, are the biggest reasons for the Monarch's decline. RoundUp is a major factor in people's decline. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (think lawsuits on TV) is just the tip of the iceberg. Most people don't know that wheat has been dried in the fields by RoundUp for many years, and wheat is in everything (once you start reading ingredient lists). Our neighbor has a patch approximately 20 yards x 30 yards full of milkweed, which is located close to the north shore of Lake Huron. There is a home next to the patch and right now there are 80+ chrysalis stage pupa attached to the vinyl siding low (out of the wind). The butterflies must migrate across Lake Huron, and they gather in the cedars the evening before migrating on north winds that drive them southbound across the lake.
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