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Monarch butterflies are dying, groups say

First the bees, now the butterflies ...

New numbers show the Western Monarch population is dangerous close to a collapse.
New numbers show the Western Monarch population is dangerously close to a collapse.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Monarch butterflies are disappearing at an alarming rate, especially in America, CBS reports.

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation counted just over 29,000 monarch butterflies in the California migration this year — the threshold for migration collapse is 30,000.

This is the second year in a row that the number has been dangerously close to a migration collapse, reports CBS.

In just 40 years, the California monarch migration has gone from 4.5 million butterflies to now being on the brink of collapse, USA Today reports.

The dramatic decrease in the population has the Center for Biological Diversity considering placing monarch butterflies on the endangered species list this year.

The legendary orange and black beauties are dying largely due to habitat loss, pesticides and climate change, according to the Xerces Society. Monarchs rely heavily on milkweed to hatch new caterpillars, but these plants are becoming hard for them to find.

Center for Biological Diversity Senior Scientist Tierra Curry told CBS that climate change kills monarch butterflies by causing dangerous and violent storms during their migration seasons.

The severe winds from those storms can push them off track.

The increased temperatures caused by climate change also mess with their migration patterns and can cause them to stay too long into the winter, which will kill them when it does eventually cool down, according to CBS.

“Without immediate action I fear we will lose these animals from the western landscape,” Xerces Society Executive Director Scott Black, told CBS.