For the beloved monarch butterfly, these are dire times.
In the 1980s, as many as 170,000 monarchs would descend each fall and spring upon Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, Calif., to spend the winter in a seaside eucalyptus grove. This year, however, just 3,800 monarchs showed up, a new low in what has been a steady and precipitous drop-off in population. And the problem is not localized to California.
The article by David Knowles describes the factors contributing to the decline of the monarch: loss of habitat, deforestation, decline in the number of female of the species, and most importantly less milkweed which they need for their survival. To read the full article see: http://www.aolnews.com/science/article/monarch-butterly-population-has-dropped-drastically/19406875.
Monarch butterflies huddle together at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, Calif., 2004.
Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP