Hellertoon: Monarchs may soon flutter no more
Monarch butterflies are at risk of going extinct in the western United States, with the number of the migratory pollinators declining by as much as 99.9 percent since the 1980s.
Tens of millions of monarchs used to flutter across the country. Now, scientists count just 1,914 remaining in the western population of Danaus plexippus plexippus. The larger eastern population declined by 84 percent from 1996 to 2014.
"It is difficult to watch monarch butterflies and their extraordinary migration teeter on the edge of collapse, but there are signs of hope. So many people and organizations have come together to try and protect this butterfly and its habitats. From planting native milkweed and reducing pesticide use to supporting the protection of overwintering sites and contributing to community science, we all have a role to play in making sure this iconic insect makes a full recovery," said Anna Walker, member of the IUCN SSC Butterfly and Moth Specialist Group and species survival officer at the New Mexico BioPark Society, who led the monarch butterfly assessment.
Still, conservation groups say that the Biden administration must do move to protect the monarchs from vanishing altogether.
Editorial cartoonist Joe Heller worked for the Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1985-2013, and has won numerous awards for his work, which is published in more than 350 news outlets around the country.