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Eighteen years ago, the Monarch butterflies, which clump together in trees by the thousands, occupied more than 44 acres of forest in central Mexico during their winter migration. In 2012, the butterflies’ covered just 2.93 acres of forest. Last year, the Monarchs’ space measured less than 2 acres -- a 44 percent decrease from the same time the previous year.
“The migration is definitely proving to be an endangered biological phenomenon,” Lincoln Brower, a leading entomologist at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, told the Associated Press. “The main culprit is now GMO herbicide-resistant corn and soybean crops and herbicides in the USA, [which] leads to the wholesale killing of the monarch’s principal food plant, common milkweed.”
Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed off the plant. Researchers say that without milkweed, there are no butterflies.
This could be the most shocking news for monarch butterfly enthusiasts in North America. Monarch butterflies are at an all-time low. Now, the World Wildlife Fund-Mexico has devised a plan, hoping to increase the monarch butterfly population.