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Monarch Butterfly Added to International List of Endangered Species


The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) “Red List of Threatened Species” has included the migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus), famous for its stunning annual migration of up to 4,000 kilometers across America, to the category of “Endangered.” The main reasons for this species’ severe decrease are habitat degradation and climate change.

There are currently 147,517 species on the Red List, of which 41,459 are in danger of going extinct. The IUCN Director General, Bruno Oberle, stated that “today’s update to the Red List underlines the fragility of nature’s wonders, such as the unique spectacle of monarch butterflies that migrate thousands of kilometers.”

We require fair and effective protected and preserved areas, as well as prompt action to address climate change and restore ecosystems, in order to preserve nature’s great diversity. In response, communities are aided by biodiversity conservation by receiving critical services like food, clean water, and stable employment, the author continued.

A subspecies of the monarch butterfly is the migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). The native population has decreased by 22% to 72% over the past ten years. This population is well-known for its winter travels from Mexico and California to summer breeding areas in the United States and Canada.

A large portion of the monarch butterflies’ wintering grounds in Mexico and California have already been destroyed by legal and illegal logging and deforestation to make way for agriculture and urban development, and pesticides and herbicides used in intensive farming throughout the area range of the species also kill monarch butterflies and milkweed, the host plant on which the larvae feed.

The species on the verge of collapse

A key hazard to the migratory monarch butterfly is climate change, which has had a substantial impact. Milkweed growth is restricted by drought, which also makes catastrophic wildfires more frequent.

Furthermore, catastrophic weather events kill millions of milkweed plants, while excessive temperatures cause earlier migrations before milkweed is accessible.

According to the IUCN, the species’ western population is at an increased danger of extinction since it decreased by 99.9% between 1980 and 2021, from around 10 million to 1,914 individuals.

The population of the greater eastern region has decreased as well, by 84 percent between 1996 and 2014. Whether there are still enough butterflies to support populations and prevent extinction is a matter of debate.

There are glimpses of optimism, but it is agonizing to see monarch butterflies and their remarkable trek teeter on the verge of extinction. The monarch butterfly assessment was led by Anna Walker, species survival officer at the New Mexico BioPark Society and member of the IUCN-SSC Butterfly and Moth Specialist Group. “Many people and organizations have come together to try to safeguard this butterfly and its habitats,” Walker said.

He supported the conservation of winter sites, the planting of native milkweed, a decrease in pesticide use, and support for community science. We can all help to ensure that this recognizable bug recovers completely, she said.

Not all animals are in danger. The 26 surviving sturgeon species in the world are now 95 percent in danger of going extinct, up from 85 percent in 2009, according to a global assessment. Studies indicate that their decline over the last three generations has been more pronounced than previously believed.

Sturgeons in danger

The IUCN Red List now lists 17 species as “Critically Endangered,” three as “Endangered,” and five as “Vulnerable.” The Yangtze sturgeon (Acipenser dabryanus) has been upgraded from “Critically Endangered” to “Extinct in the Wild.” Evaluation has also confirmed that the Chinese paddlefish is extinct (Psephurus gladius).

For generations, sturgeons have been overfished for their meat and caviar. Despite being protected by international law, poaching still affects more than half of the sturgeon species. According to the IUCN, better enforcement of laws against the selling of sturgeon meat and caviar in illegal markets is “necessary” to stop further population declines.

There are currently between 3,726 and 5,578 tigers living in the wild worldwide, according to newly released statistics on the species. Improvements in monitoring techniques, which reveal that there are more tigers left than previously thought and that global numbers appear to be steady or increasing, are the cause of this 40 percent rise since the most recent tiger assessment, which was conducted in 2015.

Tiger is still listed as endangered

Despite the fact that the tiger is still listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, population trends show that initiatives like the IUCN Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Program are successful and that a recovery is feasible as long as conservation efforts are continued. environmental protection.

The biggest dangers include tiger poaching, the illegal and legal hunting of tigers’ prey, and the fragmentation and degradation of their habitats as a result of increased pressure from human settlements and agriculture.

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