Migratory monarch butterflies, known for their bright orange and spotted wings spectacularly filling the sky on a nearly 2,500-mile journey every year, are now “closer to the brink” of extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature announced the grim news on Thursday, saying that human activities that result in habitat destruction and climate change are mostly responsible.
The migratory monarch is a subspecies of the monarch butterfly and is known for its annual migration from Mexico to the U.S. and Canada. Over the past decade, its population has shrunk by between 22% to 72%, depending on the measurement method used, according to the IUCN.
And the majority of that decline is, the group said, is because of people.
Logging and deforestation have destroyed substantial areas of the butterflies’ winter home in Mexico and California. Last year, the World Wildlife Fund and Mexico’s government issued a report that the monarch population that was in Mexico for hibernation in 2020compared to the previous year. In 2019, they had occupied nearly seven acres of Mexico’s hibernation forests, while in 2020, they occupied just over five.
The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, where the majority of the migrating monarchs hibernate, lost a significant amount of trees leading up to the…