The Survival of the Endangered Monarch Butterfly Depends on Conservation Beyond Borders

The iconic North American monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus plexippus was recently listed in the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, signaling that its ongoing decline could lead to extinction. The compounding effects of habitat degradation, insufficient food and water and climate change have led to these dwindling numbers.

This tiny, almost weightless, butterfly can travel thousands of kilometers across natural and human-made borders with ease. It can survive harsh weather during its long-distance flights across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. And it has developed, over millennia, these movements in a delicate relationship with its milkweed host plant.

Despite their remarkable adaptations and ongoing conservation efforts, things have gone downhill for these monarchs. Why? …

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