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Monarch butterflies running out of time

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 by Tai Moses

Monarch butterflies started showing up last month on their annual flutter through town. According to local butterfly watchers, Austin is seeing the biggest spring migration in recent memory. Despite this, the fragile black-and-orange insects are under threat from many quarters, including pesticide use, habitat loss, illegal logging, and severe weather events caused by climate change. Their populations have crashed by 80 percent over the past 20 years and their long-term survival is in serious doubt. Yesterday, an alliance of 105 conservation organizations urged Congress to increase spending on monarch conservation programs by $100 million per year. The funds would pay for restoring a million acres of milkweed habitat a year (milkweed is the only plant the monarch caterpillar can eat). Said Stephanie Kurose, an endangered species policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity, in an announcement about the funding request, “These beautiful butterflies are running out of time. Congress needs to take effective action to save the monarch before it’s too late.”

 

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