December 8, 2018

The decline of monarch butterflies

Guardian -The hillside groves of eucalyptus trees that tower over the Santa Cruz shoreline would, not so long ago, be teeming with monarch butterflies at this time of year.

Boughs would be bent under the weight of black and orange clusters, as hundreds of thousands of the magical invertebrates nestled into the leaves, waiting out the frost on the California coast before returning north. Not long ago, tree groves in California would be teeming with monarch butterflies. The monarchs are there – but they are harder to spot.

Just two years ago, 8,000 overwintered here, but these days, just more than a thousand are fluttering amidst the Santa Cruz trees. It’s part of a troubling trend: over the last two decades monarch numbers in the West have declined by roughly 97%.

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