Californias Monarch butterfly population hits ‘potentially catastrophic’ low in 2018

January 11, 2019 by  
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California’s Monarch butterfly population hit a record low in 2018 after dropping a whopping 86 percent from the previous year. According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the total population has declined 97 percent since the 1980s, but this latest one year drop is “potentially catastrophic.” In the western part of the United States, monarchs migrate to California for the winter, traveling from Idaho and Utah. In 2017, the traditional California coastal sites like Pismo Beach, Big Sur and Pacific Grove hosted about 148,000 monarchs, but in 2018, volunteers counted approximately 20,500. Compare that population to the 1980s, says one of the study’s researchers Cheryl Schultz, an associate professor at Washington State University Vancouver. At that time, an estimated 10 million monarchs spent their winter in California. According to experts, butterflies are incredibly significant to the state because they quickly respond to ecological changes and warn us about the health of an ecosystem . Plus, they pollinate flowers. According to biologist Emma Pelton, if nothing is done to preserve the western monarchs and their habitat, monarch butterflies could be facing extinction. They require milkweed for breeding and migration, but in recent years pesticide use and urban development have caused the acreage of milkweed to decline. Unusually harsh weather has also threatened the monarch’s existence. Between 2011 and 2017, California has experienced one of the worst droughts on record, and this has caused ecological devastation among forested towns and fishing communities because hundreds of millions of trees have died. Not to mention, the recent deadly wildfires  that have devastated the golden state. However, the declining monarch population can be reversed if citizens and governments act now. Pelton says that gardeners can plant milkweed and towns can help by planting new trees to help monarch butterfiles 20 years from now have a new place to winter. “We don’t think it is too late to act,” Pelton said. “But everyone needs to step up their effort.” Via New York Times Image via OLID56

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Californias Monarch butterfly population hits ‘potentially catastrophic’ low in 2018

Bees placed on the endangered species list for the very first time

October 4, 2016 by  
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We’ve been hearing about dangerous declines in bee populations for years – and the US has finally added bees to the endangered species list for the first time . The listing is limited to seven species of yellow-faced bee – the only native bees in the Hawaiian Islands. Because of the isolation these species experience living at sea, they’ve been especially vulnerable to environmental threats, such as human development, the loss of native plant species, wildfires, and feral pigs. The bees exist in a variety of habitats in Hawaii – their territory ranges from coastal environments to high-elevation shrub lands. The role they play in the local ecosystem is difficult to overstate: while other bees could pollinate Hawaii’s native plants, there are many that could potentially become extinct if these particular bee species disappear. This new designation is the result of nearly 10 years of research by the Xerces Society conservation group, state officials, and independent researchers. There has been no critical habitat attached to the listing, unfortunately, which limits the amount of protection the bees can receive. However, it does allow local authorities to implement recovery programs and access much-needed funding to protect the bees. And it does make it illegal to harm or kill the bees without a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service. Related: How Monsanto is Turning an Island Paradise Into a GMO Wasteland Along with the bees , three other Hawaiian animal species have been listed as endangered: the band-rumped storm-petrel, the orangeblack Hawaiian damselfly, and the anchialine pool shrimp. Also added were 39 species of native Hawaiian plants. Elsewhere in the US, the rusty-patched bumble bee is currently being considered for endangered species protections. Via The Daily Mail Images via Wikimedia Commons  

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Bees placed on the endangered species list for the very first time

Environmentalists Sue US Government to Get Bees Listed as Endangered Animals

May 14, 2014 by  
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What’s an insect have to do to get on the endangered species list these days? That’s the question some environmentalists are asking after a failed attempt to get a vanishing bumble bee species added to the list. Environmentalists with the Xerces Society got so frustrated with a lack of response about adding the rusty patched bumble bee that they have filed a lawsuit against US government agencies to draw attention to the issue. Read the rest of Environmentalists Sue US Government to Get Bees Listed as Endangered Animals Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bee die-off , bee disease , bee extinction , bee population , bee population reduction , bees endangered , bumble bee , bumble bee die off , colony collapse , environmentalists sue government , rusty patched bumble bee , The Xerces Society v. Jewell et. al , Xerces Society , Xerces Society sues Department of Interior , Xerces Society sues government , Xerces Society sues US Wildlife , Xerces vs US Government

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Environmentalists Sue US Government to Get Bees Listed as Endangered Animals

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