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Notable Decrease in Monarch Butterfly Population as 22 Million Don’t Make it Through the Season

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The monarch butterfly migration that happens annually over Texas is anticipated to be roughly 22 million light this year as scientists announced the severe decline due to late winter storms, badly damaged habitat, and toppled trees at their winter breeding grounds. In an article published by the Detroit Free Press, Craig Wilson, senior research associate at Texas A&M University, identified that after recording a salient increase in numbers last year, the monarch butterfly’s population dwindled a considerable amount this season, again marking the striking decline in their numbers over the course of the last two decades.

Poor Environmental Conditions

Notable Decrease in Monarch Butterfly Population as 22 Million Don’t Make it Through the Season

Photo: Pixnio

According to Wilson, the poor environmental conditions were “enough to kill many millions” of the beautiful species, leaving approximately 78 million monarchs in their Mexico breeding grounds, which is notably dropped from their numbers at 100 million the year prior. And today’s numbers are by no means any comparison to what they once were. In 1996, monarch counts measured more than 10 times what their current population is estimated at, with scientists registering a count of approximately one billion of the beauties at the time.

Top Threats to the Monarch Population

Notable Decrease in Monarch Butterfly Population as 22 Million Don’t Make it Through the Season

Photo: Pixnio

A count in the monarch breeding grounds consists of measuring the number of acres of trees that are occupied by their clusters. The World Wildlife Fund completed a study which was released earlier in February, citing deforestation coupled with bad weather as the top threats to the monarch. This year’s count indicated that the butterflies covered roughly seven acres of trees, which is down from the 10 acres they inhabited last year. To illustrate how drastic the decline is, according to Monarch Watch, only two decades ago, the monarchs occupied up to 44 acres of trees.

A Monarch Caterpillar’s Solitary Food Source

Notable Decrease in Monarch Butterfly Population as 22 Million Don’t Make it Through the Season
Photo: Flickr/USFWSmidwest

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