How you can help the monarch butterfly rebound
Though monarch butterflies danced across Canadian skies last fall,
a new survey released by WWF indicates that monarch populations are continuing
Each fall, monarchs set out on a 5,000-kilometre journey to their wintering sites
in the mountain forests of Mexico. The World Wildlife Fund and its partners track
their populations by measuring the area of forest they occupy. In December 2017,
the endangered butterfly covered 2.5 hectares of forest, a 15 per cent decline over
the previous year.
This decline is part of a worrisome downward trend: Over the past two decades, monarch
populations have declined by more than 80 per cent.
Monarchs are threatened by climate change, the deforestation of their overwintering
habitat in Mexico and the loss of native plants – primarily milkweed – that they
rely on to feed and reproduce on their migration route. Researchers say that the
historic hurricane season and warmer than usual weather, which delayed migration
in some parts of the country, may have also contributed to reduced numbers in 2017.
Monarch butterflies embark on the longest insect migration in the world. We are
working to reduce their vulnerability across their habitat — in Canada and the United
States where they breed and spend their summers, as well as in Mexico.
Here in Canada, we support individuals, schools and communities working to restore
monarch habitat through programs such as
Go Wild School Grants,
Go Wild Community Grants and
In the Zone, a native plant gardening program for residents in southern
Ontario's Carolinian zone.
Monarchs are beginning to cross the continent again, instinctively following the
spring flowering. What we plant this spring is important for their survival.
Help save monarch migration
By making the right choices for your garden, such as planting native species of
milkweed – the only food monarch caterpillars eat – and other native wildflowers,
you can help them rebound.
In the Zone to receive habitat guides and track your impact.