Monarch Butterflies May Be Added To Endangered Species List

The beautiful orange and black wings of the monarch butterfly are cherished and admired by young and old alike. These days, the appearance of the monarch butterfly in the United States has become less and less frequent, and now the insects are being considered for the Endangered Species list.

As 2015 gets started, officials with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service will be reviewing the decision to classify monarch butterflies as endangered. Once a species receives the declaration of 'endangered,' federal regulations to protect the species are implemented. Some experts say that the monarch butterfly population has decreased by ninety percent over just the past twenty years. The number of monarch butterflies in the mid-1990s was about 1 billion; last winter, that number was only 35 million.

Wildlife experts and advocates are stepping up and pushed for the federal government to sign a petition in August that called for the species' protection. That document is being reviewed this year by the Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether the monarch butterfly is indeed threatened.

The decrease in the insect's population is being accredited by scientists to the growth of genetically modified crops in the Midwestern United States. These crops are often sprayed with Roundup, a Monsanto herbicide that kills milkweed, a huge source of food for monarch butterflies. In fact, milkweed plants throughout the Midwest have almost completely vanished, eliminating a huge part of the monarch butterfly's habitat.

The loss of monarch butterflies in the nation is alarming for many wildlife activists, who, along with the public, may send comments to the Fish and Wildlife Service until March 2nd.


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