Scientists Thrilled to See Monarchs Making a Comeback in Colorado
The conservation and preservation efforts of monarch butterflies are slowly starting to pay off in Colorado and other western regions, which is phenomenal news for a species that's facing concerns of extinction.
The Colorado Butterfly Monitoring Network has been collecting data specifically on the monarch population within the Centennial State. Through their research, the group observed a rebound in the species during 2021, which hasn't been seen for a long time.
According to Xerces.org, western monarchs have undergone a significant decline, losing more than 95% of their population since the 1980s. During the wintertime, a few years ago, the total count dwindled to approximately 2,000 butterflies in the entire country.
Climate change and major development have led to the loss of many monarchs throughout the region. In recent years, drought and wildfires in the western portion of the country have also severely impacted these butterflies' migration routes.
Now, scientists estimate there's a total of approximately 250,000 monarch butterflies living in the United States. A majority of these pollinators can be found in various places throughout the state of California.
Although researchers aren't exactly sure what has caused the recent uptick in these orange and black butterflies, they are thrilled to see it. It's a positive sign for the species, but there's still been a significant decline in the overall population that can't be ignored – more work needs to be done as far as protection goes if we want to keep monarchs around.
One of the measures being taken to help conserve the species is calling on Coloradans to plant more milkweed and other native plants. Milkweed is a major part of monarch's diets, but many of these plants have died due to pesticide use and a warming climate. That being said, another important action that's being carried out by locals is reducing the use of pesticides when possible.