Save monarch butterflies before it’s too late

In the past 20 years, more than 90 per cent of the monarch butterflies that migrate from Mexico to Canada have disappeared. A few years of modest improvement, the monarch population dropped by more than 25 per cent in 2017.

In the United States, the monarch crisis has spurred government agencies to allocate more than $20 million for conservation and research projects. They’ve set targets for the amount of habitat that needs to be created to bring monarchs back from the brink — more than 200,000 hectares (500,000 acres) of milkweed and other wildflowers throughout the U.S. migratory range — and launched action plans to meet this ambitious goal.

Despite scientists recommending monarchs be protected as an endangered species in Canada in November 2016, there have been no funding announcements or targets for action. The good news: The government of Canada can take swift action, led by Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who last winter visited the monarchs in Mexico and became a passionate advocate for monarch recovery.

Programs can be quickly created in Canada to fund new research and conservation efforts, based on remarkable U.S. progress. Targets can be set for planting milkweed and other butterfly-friendly species in thousands of yards, parks, roadsides, infrastructure corridors and natural spaces.

The first step is to formally list monarchs as endangered species under the federal Species at Risk Act. Please help by sending a letter to your MP and Minister McKenna.

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