Habitat Loss Leads To Loss Of 90 Percent Of Monarch Butterflies

Nov 14, 2017

Credit Wisconsin DNR

Many species of pollinators are in sharp decline in Wisconsin.

Recently, a DNR program was granted more almost $70,000 to aid in helping Monarch butterflies. The grant was to help the insects during their annual trek to Mexico over the winter. The grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to restore and enhance critical monarch butterfly habitat along the Mississippi River.

But the DNR's Owen Boyle says the populations of the once-common Monarchs have fallen by 90 percent in the last 25 years.

He says habitat loss throughout the monarch's breeding range, which includes Wisconsin, is considered the primary cause of the monarch population's crash....

"...specifically for Monarch butterflies, as most kids learn in school these days, Monarch butterflies need milkweed plants. It's the only thing they can lay their eggs on and what the larvae or caterpillars can eat. The loss of milkweed and the nectar plants that the adults need, your regular native flowering plants, the loss of those from the landscape is what's driving the loss of Monarchs...."

Researchers say as native vegetation is replaced by roadways, manicured lawns, crops and non-native gardens, pollinators lose food and nesting sites necessary for their survival. More information is on the DNR webpage by typing pollinators into the search box. There are several tips for property owners who would like to help out.