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Monarch Butterfly Endangered?

Monarch Butterfly Endangered?

The Monarch Butterfly is now under consideration by U.S. Fish and Wildlife to be named as an endangered species

On December 15, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that listing the monarch as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act is warranted, but precluded by higher priority listing actions. The decision is the result of an extensive status review of the monarch that compiled and assessed the monarch’s current and future status. The monarch is now a candidate under the Endangered Species Act; we will review its status annually until a listing decision is made.

Over the past two decades, Monarch numbers have dropped, and as populations decline each year, concerns about the fate of the Monarch have grown. Every year Monarch Butterflies are counted in their groves that they return to each year as a type of census. Their groves can be found up and down the coastline of California. The count used to track 1,000s of Monarch Butterflies, even right here in Orange County. As recently as 1996 Orange County hosted almost 14,000 overwintering butterflies. However in 2019, Bob Allen, the Orange County Monarch Count Coordinator with Xerces Society, counted only FIVE Monarchs in the 8-9 Orange County coastal groves from Huntington Beach to San Clemente. Then in 2020 he only counted ONE butterfly! A shocking and horrific decline.

Their decline can be linked to loss of habitat, disease and pesticide use. We as gardeners can do our part to plant native milkweeds and nectar plants for them to use to lay their eggs on and feed. To learn more about how you can help, read our blogs:
Monarchs and Milkweed
Monarch Butterflies in Southern California