Sadly, as of July 2022, monarch butterflies have become another member of the endangered species list. At Atmos Magazine Romina Cenisio visits the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico to learn about the hazards and odds these amazing creatures face for survival and what some humans are doing to help them thrive.
Though the butterflies’ numbers fluctuate yearly, they’ve been trending downward. In July 2022, monarch butterflies officially joined the endangered species list.
From loss of habitat to the instability and unpredictability of climate change, the butterflies’ vast migration that traverses Canada, the U.S., and Mexico faces a patchwork of different threats. In the U.S., habitat loss and pesticides threaten milkweed, a native perennial flowering plant that’s a crucial piece of the migratory species’s survival. It’s the one plant on which monarchs lay their eggs and the one food source for the monarch caterpillars during the spring migration. In Mexico, deforestation due to illegal logging threatens the butterflies’ winter home. With such mounting challenges, the very survival of the monarch butterflies is at stake.
Their awe-inspiring migration is a cycle that repeats each year, spanning three countries. This journey is part of a deeply interconnected symbiosis with other species that ultimately supports us too. From grasslands to roadsides to forests, monarchs are essential pollinators that enrich diversity in flowering plants across North America.