|A monarch butterfly perches on a New England aster at Sand Lake Wetland Management District in South Dakota. Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS|
Our Director, Dan Ashe has joined Larry Voyles, President of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), in signing a joint memorandum promoting collaborative efforts to conserve the monarch butterfly and other native pollinators.
The memo, signed at the 2015 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Omaha, Nebraska, urges state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to be resourceful in helping to turn around the severe drop in monarch butterfly populations, which have declined by more than 90 percent within the past 20 years.
“In 1996, we saw populations of a billion monarch butterflies funneling down from all over the Unites States to overwinter in Mexico, but those populations have dwindled,” said Ashe during the memo signing. “In 2013, we saw the lowest populations ever recorded – about 30 million monarch butterflies.”
Weed control practices, particularly on corn and soybean fields, have impacted the availability of milkweed in North America. Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed plants and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. According to Ashe, the key to conserving monarch butterflies is to put good habitat on the landscape.