Iowa Organizations Unite To Save Monarch Butterfly

The waning number of migrating monarch butterflies impelled different organizations across the state to work together in an attempt to safeguard the said species from extinction.

Iowa State University and several other organizations are teaming together to conserve the population of the monarch butterfly.

Several departments of the Iowa State University in a joint venture with state agencies, conservation groups, farmers and more have created “The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium”, which will center on developing the reproduction and conservation of monarch butterflies.

The consortium aims to unite urban and rural communities to make sure that monarch butterflies remain part of the Iowa landscape.

"The consortium will build on Iowa's experience in related conservation efforts and can make great strides in benefiting monarchs. We look forward to getting the word out to all Iowans about how they can help increase monarch habitat," president of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Joe McGovern said.

The population of monarchs has depreciated drastically in the past few years. Conservationists blame the decline on the lack of natural habitat due to the decrease in milkweed habitat. Experts say that monarch butterflies depend upon milkweed plants to lay their eggs.

The Iowa State University is projected to begin research on cost-effective ways of developing and preserving milkweed plants in rural as well as urban settings.

Sue Blodgett from the University's Department of Entomology reveals that “the best available science needs to be deployed to improve the reproduction of monarchs in Iowa and throughout the nation.”

In February this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also unveiled its plans to conserve the deteriorating population of monarchs in the country. The agency has also pledged $2 million for urgent conservation endeavor for the monarchs.

"With the butterfly rapidly disappearing, I am pleased to see the Fish and Wildlife Service taking positive steps to reverse its decline. We must build on this momentum, and I will continue to call on the public and private sectors to join together in the effort to protect the monarch butterfly," says Sen. Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota.

Monarch butterflies typically migrate from the U.S. and Canada to Mexico in pursuit of warmer weather during winter. The number of monarchs recorded in 1996 was more than 1 billion. However, a recent report states that the latest annual migration of the monarchs to Mexico had just been around 56.5 million butterflies. The number is the second lowest on record.

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