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World Wildlife Fund
Monarch Populations Are Continuing To Decline

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 to decline.

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.

Join In the Zone to receive habitat guides and track your impact.


Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2018 10:52:40 AM EST

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