The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared the monarch butterfly an endangered species. According to scientists, the monarch population has severely declined in the past decade.

Anna Walker, who led the monarch butterfly assessment, said:

“It’s hard for people to imagine that something that shows up in their backyard is threatened.”

Monarch butterflies are dying because of the destruction of their habitat and from being poisoned by pesticides used in agriculture to kill insects. Loss of milkweed plants, the plant they lay larvae in, is also to blame.

In the Fall, the eastern North American monarch migrates from northern and central United States to Florida and Mexico. The western North American monarchs often migrates to sites in southern California, but has been found in overwintering Mexican sites, as well. During the migration, monarchs travel thousands of miles, with a corresponding multigenerational return north.

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