For Immediate Release, March 9, 2021

Contact:

Stephanie Kurose, (202) 849-8395, skurose@biologicaldiversity.org

Congress Urged to Provide $100 Million Per Year to Save Monarch Butterflies

WASHINGTON— More than 80 groups today called on Congress to provide $100 million per year for the conservation of monarch butterflies to help stem their rapid population decline and prevent them from slipping further towards extinction.

The western monarch population has crashed by 99.9%, with fewer than 2,000 butterflies recorded overwintering in coastal California this year — the lowest number ever recorded. In the past two decades, eastern monarch populations have plummeted more than 80%, dramatically increasing the likelihood of extinction.

“Monarchs are cherished everywhere across this country, but they’re running out of time,” said Stephanie Kurose, a senior policy specialist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We can’t just throw our hands up and hope for the best. Congress has a moral obligation to do everything it can to save these butterflies from extinction.”

Today’s letter notes that “without emergency help from Congress, it’s almost certain that the western population of monarch butterflies, which famously winters on the California coast each year, will collapse within a few years.”

For the eastern population of monarchs, which overwinters in Mexico, the population has fallen by 26% since last year and 85% overall since the mid-1990s. According to the federal government’s own scientists, there is now up to an 80% chance they will collapse within 50 years.

Monarch butterflies have been moving towards extinction because of landscape-scale threats from pesticides, development and global climate change. But monarchs aren’t the only insects threatened by climate change. According to a recent report, hundreds of butterfly species across the American West are vanishing as the region becomes hotter and drier. There has also been a similar drop in bumblebees nationwide due to rising temperatures.

“Breadcrumbs in funding and inadequate policies have gotten the monarch to where it is,” said Kurose. “If our leaders don’t take bold, transformative action right now, the monarch will no longer be a symbol of childhood and summers, but just a memory.”

Monarch-butterfly-Lori-Ann-Burd-Center-FPWC-lpr.jpg
Monarch butterfly. Photo by Lori Ann Burd, Center for Biological Diversity. Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.