Monarch butterflies could soon be included on the Endangered Species List. A total of 52 members of Congress have signed onto a petition urging President Barack Obama to support such an inclusion. The Monarch Butterfly population has reportedly decreased by 90 percent during the past two decades. The lawmakers want the butterfly species to be noted as threatened under the Endangered Species Act – ESA.
The Monarch butterflies letter was sent to President Obama on Tuesday with Representative Chellie Pingree spearheading Endangered Species List effort.”The loss of habitat and devastation of the Monarch population should be a wakeup call. If we keep applying ever increasing amounts of chemicals to farm lands it’s going to have an impact on the environment,” Representative Pingree said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is mandated to issue a “12-month finding” on the Monarch butterfly petition that will propose protection under the Endangered Species Act. As previously reported by the Inquistr, last fall the Center for Food Safety, The Center for Biological Diversity, and the Xerces Society filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pushing for the Monarch butterfly to be deemed “threatened” and added to the Endangered Species List. The 2014 petition cited the significant threat to the habitat of the butterfly when pushing for great protections.
Center for Food Safety Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell had something to say about the efforts to save the Monarch butterfly.
“Listing Monarch butterflies as a threatened species is essential to their survival. An iconic species is on the verge of extinction because of our chemically intensive agricultural system. This petition is the scientific and legal blueprint for creating the protection that the monarch so direly needs. We thank Representative Pingree for her stalwart support and hope that this sends a strong signal to the Obama Administration.”
“Monarchs in Peril,” a report authored by the Center for Food Safety, stated that the butterfly’s “dramatic decline” is being “driven in large part by the widespread planting of genetically engineered crops in the Midwest, where most monarchs are born.” Honeybees have also faced extremely steep population declines since 2004. GMO crops and chemical herbicides used both in backyards and farms, are noted as likely culprits by many environmentalists and scientists. The honeybee pollinated at least 70 percent of the food eaten by humans – if the bees all die, the human race will only be a few years behind. If the Monarch butterfly Endangered Species Act bid is successful, perhaps the honeybees will one day soon be offered similar protections.
Most GMO crops are made to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The chemical herbicide is a also a strong killer of milkweed- the only food eaten by the Monarch caterpillar. The enhanced use the Monsanto Roundup Ready crops has nearly killed all the milkweed plants in the Midwest where the majority of corn and soybeans are grown in America.
“The monarch butterfly is the ‘canary in the cornfield’ – it serves as a critical indicator species by highlighting larger environmental problems with our chemically-intensive agricultural system. Many species of pollinators, not just monarchs, are at risk if we don’t address the underlying problems with our food system,” said Larissa Walker, pollinator campaign director at Center for Food Safety.
Do you think honeybees and Monarch butterflies should be placed on the Endangered Species List?
[Image via: Shutterstock.com]