Monarch Butterflies population drops by 60%

March 23rd, 2010 - 2:50 am ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

butter Fort Worth, Mar 22 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Monarch butterflies have been reduced to their lowest population numbers in their winter home in Mexico, due to storms. Their numbers have decreased by around 60%, and this is said to be the lowest population numbers in decades. They are now returning to United States and Canada, from their winter home in Mexico.

“I think it is very clear that the butterflies lost more than half of the population,” according to Chip Taylor, who is a professor of entomology and director of Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas. He also added that, “I’m hoping it wasn’t as high as 70% or 80%. We’ve never seen it this bad before.”

The causes of the population decrease were attributed to the torrential rain and mudslides in the Mexican state of Michoacan, which were so severe that they had also killed 40 people. Prior to this calamity, the butterfly population was already in trouble last year, because of the unfavorable weather conditions in US and Canada.

To increase the butterfly population, Monarch Watch has started a campaign to request gardeners, farmers and other people to plant milkweed, which is the favorite food of butterflies. Botanists say that the plant is said to be a lifeline for the monarch butterflies. “It’s not just the backyard garden,” Taylor said. “We’re hoping to encourage changes in roadside management practices, how public lands are managed and how people are managing what they would call nonproductive land or marginal land that they might own.”

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