If Monarch butterflies are going to stay off the endangered species list, they need more to eat. And it’s up to us to feed them.
That’s the conclusion of a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Monarchs used to feast on the milkweed growing in corn and soybean fields. But then the herbicide glyphosate began to be widely used on genetically modified corn and soy fields. As a result, almost all of the milkweed is gone.
Now monarchs are relying on milkweed in other places, but there’s just not enough of it. Wayne Thogmartin, an ecologist with the USGS, estimates monarchs need 1.8 billion more stems of milkweed. So, he says, we should plant more of it.
[E]arly efforts to plant milkweed and preserve habitat have been good, but monarchs need more investment — something like the half a billion dollars the federal government has spent out west to keep the sage grouse off the endangered list.
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