By Kelsie Hoitomt
BOYCEVILLE – The pristine black and orange Monarch Butterfly used to be a sight seen on a daily basis, fluttering past flowers and through meadows in mass quantity throughout the country.
However, due to a severe decline in milkweed and formal habitat, National Geographic says that the Monarch is in grave danger.
A recording that began in 1993 showed that their colonies in Mexico now occupy the smallest area since the start of the data collecting.
According to National Geographic, the report is based on a survey of Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve done in December of 2013.
The butterflies spend the winter hibernating in the reserve’s forest and they only occupied about 1.65 acres in December, which is a 44 percent drop from 2012.
This survey was conducted by the WWF-Telcel Alliance (World Wildlife Fund) and Mexico’s National Commission for Protected Areas.
Monarchs are found in many parts of the world, but the migratory monarch is the most thoroughly studied, since its the most at risk.
The species itself is said to not be endangered, but its migratory pattern from Canada to Mexico and back however is.
The number of migrating monarchs is plummeting for a few reasons: widespread loss of milkweed, extreme climate fluctuations in North American and deforestation.
Monarchs themselves are not just a pretty sight, they serve a purpose as plant pollinators including some that are a food source such as corn.
With the news of their species declining, more people are trying to save milkweed and transplant it as well.
Typically milkweed is viewed as just that, a weed, so it is pulled out or doused with herbicide by farmers who do not want the plant in their corn or soy beans.
However, a few locals in the Boyceville area, including those at the Post Office are doing their best to keep the food source alive as this is a crucial nutrient of the Monarch larvae.