Via:Unsplashed

The monarch butterfly population is critically low and endangered by habitat destruction.

A study by the environmental organization Xerces Society revealed that the monarch butterfly population is at critically low levels off the coast of California, in the United States, due to habitat destruction along its migration route.

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Scientists indicated that the presence of this species was reduced by 97 percent in 2010 and from 2018 onwards there were harsher seasons in its breeding grounds in west of the United States.

According to the study, an average of 4.5 million monarch butterflies as each year migrated to this area during the winter in 1980, but the situation changed between 2018 and 2019 when the record fell to less than 30,000 monarchs, or less than one percent of the historic population size.

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Experts suggest that one of the factors that have influenced the population decline is the destruction of their habitat, which has led to new housing expansions, increased use of pesticides and herbicides.

The study also suggests that the effect of climate change, along with agriculture, is one of the main reasons for the possible extinction of the species, by interrupting an annual migration of 4,828 kilometers (3,000 miles) synchronized with spring and the flowering of wild flowers.

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To reverse this problem, researchers say the insect’s wintering sites in California and outside the United States must be protected, their reproductive and migratory habitat restored, and they must be protected from pesticides.

The Yucatan Times
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