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martes, 10 de febrero de 2015

Almost 1000.000.000 butterflies have vanished

Data horrify us: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released last Monday that since 1990, about 970 million monarch butterflies have vanished.




The Washington Post has published an article showing the impact of this massacre.

It happened as farmers and homeowners sprayed herbicides on milkweed plants, which serve as the butterflies’ nursery, food source and home. In an attempt to counter two decades of destruction, the Fish and Wildlife Service launched a partnership with two private conservation groups, the National Wildlife Federation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, to basically grow milkweed like crazy in the hopes of saving the monarchs.
The eastern North American monarch population is notable for its multigenerational southward late-summer/autumn migration from the United States and southern Canada to Mexico, covering thousands of miles. The western North American population of monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains most often migrate to sites in California but have been found in overwintering Mexico sites. Monarchs were transported to the international space station and were bred there.

The extinction of certain butterfly species is not unheard of. The blueberry-colored Xerces blue disappeared from San Francisco years ago, and recently Fish and Wildlife announced that two subspecies — the rockland skipper and Zestos in South Florida — haven’t been seen since 2004 and are probably extinct. On top of that, pesticide use has also caused a collapse of other pollinators — wasps, beetles and especially honeybees.
Fish and Wildlife is reviewing a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity to list monarch butterflies as an endangered species that requires special protection to survive. The agency is studying whether that’s necessary and also trying to do more to help restore the population.
The agency is providing $2 million for on the ground conservation projects. As part of an agreement, the federation will help raise awareness about the need for milkweed, provide seeds to anyone willing to plant it and to plant the seeds in open space — roadsides, parks, forests and patio flower boxes, to name a few places. Another $1.2 million will go to the foundation as seed money to generate a larger fundraising match from private organizations.


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