|Director Dan Ashe watches Hallie tag a monarch. Photo by Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS|
I spent much of this morning at beautiful Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge with Senator Amy Klobuchar working on monarch butterfly conservation. Life is good!
Senator Klobuchar is an exceptional advocate for monarchs in Congress, and it is stirring to hear the passion she has for them.
And as a bonus: We had plenty of kids with us, ready to become monarch scientists and add to our data on the butterfly.
From our Midwest Region: U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Service Director Dan Ashe Boost Monarch Conservation
We’ve been making a lot of noise about it, so by now, I think a lot of people know that time is running out to secure the future of the monarch butterfly, one of North America’s most recognizable wildlife species.
As recently as 1996, the estimated population of monarchs wintering in Mexico topped 1 billion. This year, the Mexican overwintering population numbered only about 56.5 million butterflies.
Some of the problem has been blamed on timber harvesting in Mexico, climate change and disease – and we must address those factors – but the accelerating conversion of native prairie habitat in Midwestern states to crop production and livestock grazing has hurt the monarch and other pollinators.