Monarch butterfly numbers shrinking

Monarch butterfly on swamp milkweed in Michigan. Photo by Jim Hudgins/USFWS.

Researchers at Iowa State University say the continent’s monarch populations appear to be shrinking, despite vigilant efforts in Iowa and elsewhere to help the fragile butterflies recover their numbers.

Steve Bradbury, an ISU entomology professor, says the survey released last month of overwintering monarchs in Mexican forests dropped about two acres from a year ago.

The loss of habitat in the U.S. and forest degradation in Mexico is also contributing to the population’s decline. He urges Iowans to step up their efforts to save this key pollinator.