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Monarch Butterflies Are Making a Comeback!

Paws Up! to conservationists and others across the country in their efforts to bolster the monarch butterfly population.

December 22, 2021

Though the monarch butterfly can obtain nectar from a variety of plants, monarch butterflies can only lay eggs on the milkweed plant (pictured).

As the number of migrating monarch butterflies overwintering (when butterflies hang from trees overnight) in Mexico and Canada dwindled to all-time lows the past five years, conservation experts have been warning the public that the species is on the brink of migration collapse. However, just this past Thanksgiving, conservation biologists in California have excitedly reported counting over 200,000 overwintering monarchs, according to this recent article. This is a huge improvement from last year’s count which totaled a measly 2,000 monarch butterflies in the same region. To put that in perspective, the California coast hosted roughly 2 million monarchs only thirty years ago.

Although these new findings are hopeful, the monarchs are not out of the woods yet; many insects’ populations ebb and flow from year to year for a multitude of reasons ranging from weather patterns to habitat loss. Scientists are not certain what has caused this upswing in monarch numbers this year, or if the upward trend will continue.

However, conservationists remain hopeful and vigilant about educating the public on how to help monarch butterflies in their own communities. People are encouraged to plant native milkweed and pollinating plants in their home gardens to promote healthy environments for monarch butterflies to flourish.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley introduced S. 806 The Monarch and Pollinator Highway Act of 2021 in March of this year. This act would require “the Secretary of Transportation to establish a program to provide grants to carry out activities to benefit pollinators on roadsides and highway rights-of-way, including the planting and seeding of native, locally appropriate grasses and wildflowers, including milkweed” according to the bill text.

Take Action: Learn how to build your own pollinator garden to help support the monarch butterfly population in the U.S.!

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3 responses to “Monarch Butterflies Are Making a Comeback!”

  1. Susan C Sheythe says:

    Last monarch I saw in my garden was three years ago; it was the only one that year. None since. But the year I saw the one monarch, I went to organic nursery (raised with NO PESTICIDES) and brought a bunch of plants home. For two years now I have a nice patch of milkweed growing in my garden but still no monarchs. No swallowtails either.

  2. Diana Lewis says:

    We have a majestic gathering of butterflies sound our purple plants in our yard. What a beautifying presence!

  3. Diana Lewis says:

    We have a majestic gathering of butterflies around our purple plants in our yard. What a beautifying presence!

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