Question and Answer

Is the monarch migration at risk of extinction?

A recent publication indicates substantial probability for “quasi-extinction” of the Eastern monarch butterfly migratory population within 20 years if ambitious habitat restoration and conservation goals are not achieved. Quasi-extinction means that the population reaches levels that are so low that it would be unlikely to recover. To minimize this risk, national population targets have been set to restore the Eastern monarch overwintering population size to 6 hectares of space occupied in Mexico through the addition of habitat across North America, including about 1.5 billion additional milkweed stems. Achieving this population size may help the population rebound more readily after stochastic weather events, such as the major winter storm that occurred in the late winter/early spring 2016 at the overwintering sites in Mexico, which likely caused significant mortality of the butterflies remaining there. Read more here.

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