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Letter to the editor: Save the monarchs

Posted: Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Help save monarch butterflies! Monarch butterflies are as amazing as they are beautiful! Did you know that as a species (not individual butterflies), each year millions of monarchs migrate up to 3,000 miles across the US and Canada to anf from their few wintering grounds in Califronia and New Mexico?

Ten years ago the number of monarchs flying to Mexico’s Sierra Nevada Madre mountains for the winter was around one billion (!) resting in 45 acres of fir trees. This year the population plummeted to 33.5 million covering only 1/6 acre of forest.

Experts agree that habitat loss, especially the eradication of milkweed plants in the US is one of the prime factors contributing to this loss of monarchs. Milkweed is the only plant on which monarchs lay their eggs. When the larvae hatch and eat milkweed leaves, they ingest a toxic substance that prevents birds from eating them. The lovely flowers are a source of nectar for adult butterflies.

Milkweed is very susceptible to the herbicide (Roundup), which is widely used to kill undesirable plants in all parts of the US. I am asking farmers, gardeners, and road crews to leave the wild stand for milkweed at least in fencerows and ditched so it can support on-going generations of magnificent monarch butterflies.

This information and more is found at www.letmonarchsfly.org and www.monarchwatch.org

Frances Graves


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