A sad environmental story this morning in the national news. Man may well turn out to be the undoing of the majestic Monarch Butterfly.
According to the Associated Press, the migration of Monarchs to Mexico is at its lowest point since 1993, prompting some “… leading experts to announce Wednesday that the insects’ annual migration from the United States and Canada is in danger of disappearing.” (Google “Associated Press”, “Monarch Butterflies”, “migration.”)
This year, the butterflies covered just over 1.5 acres of land vs. the zenith of Monarch colony coverage in 1995: more than 44 acres of beautiful black and orange winged creatures.
It seems our land use/abuse has deprived the Monarch of it’s primary food source, the lowly milkweed plant. We’ve displaced it with more corn, more plants, more homes, more roads, more houses, et al. When I lived in Iowa and Nebraska, milkweeds were a staple along dusty country roads. I distinctly remember Monarch ‘enclosures’ attached to the plants. I thought it was cool then, and I think it’s cool now.
But this is yet more distressing news of man’s incursion or cruelty or apathy toward other life forms that don’t contribute to our economic bottom line or are simply in the way of our ‘progress.’ The Monarchs are only trying to flit here and there to survive. Today’s news story ought to be a wake up call, although given our response of late to the environment, apparently too few will hear it.