The International Union for Conservation of Nature has declared that the monarch butterfly is an endangered species. Over the past ten years, the monarch butterfly population has decreased between 23 and 72 percent.
Since the 1980s, the number of monarch butterflies has declined by an estimated 99.9%, dropping from roughly 10 million to just 1,914 in 2021.
“It’s been so sad to watch their numbers decline so much, so anything that might help them makes me happy, and I think that this designation might help them,” Karen Oberhauser, a conservation biologist at the University of Wisconsin, told the New York Times. “Although it’s sad that they need that help, that they’ve reached the point where this designation is warranted.”
The IUCN said that the decline in the monarch population is due to many factors, including habitat loss, increased pesticide use, and climate change.
The agency hopes that the declaration will spur action to help save the monarchs from extinction.