Monarch butterflies are a delight to Canadian, Mexican and American children and their parents. Unfortunately Monarch populations are in steep decline. Since 1996 migrating Monarch populations in North America have crashed from as many as one billion to a mere 35 million, primarily due to habitat loss.
Monarchs are listed as a species of “special concern” under Canada’s Species at Risk Act in addition to being listed as ‘at-risk’ in Ontario and Nova Scotia. But none of these listings protect the species’ habitat (other than on federal lands). Even worse, milkweed—which is essential for egg-laying for Monarchs– is not only considered an agricultural pest in many jurisdictions, but is actively suppressed as a noxious weed in several Canadian provinces. Canada’s monarch populations may be very important to the species’ survival as climate change and habitat degradation worsen given their adaptations in the northern part of the breeding range.
Former President Obama (U.S.), President Peña Nieto (Mexico), and Former Prime Minister Harper (Canada) recognized the Monarch’s plight in February 2014 when they commissioned a tri-national task force to examine the threats to Monarch butterflies. The U.S. government followed up in February 2015 by committing $US 3.2 million to conserve Monarch habitats and expand national milkweed planting programs. Mexico continues to support population monitoring at overwintering areas in the Oyamel highland forests.
While Canada has prepared a draft Management Plan for the species, the Canadian government has not yet made any significant financial investment in protecting Monarch butterflies or their habitat.
Funding by Canada is urgently needed to:
- ramp up funding for scientific research and recovery actions (too little is known about Monarch populations and their populations),
- protect critical habitat in Canada,
- collaborate with the United States and Mexico on Monarch conservation measures, focusing on priorities such as protection of overwintering areas in the Oyamel highland forests of Mexico, and
- promote milkweed planting in southern Canada and elimination of noxious weed laws as applied to milkweed.
Send a letter today urging Canada to act now and match the U.S. commitment of $3.2 US million to Monarch Butterfly conservation.
The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Ottawa Ontario, K1M 1A9
In a hurry? Then simply sign the petition to the right!
You can be a voice for Monarch Butterflies.
To: The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Body: We, the undersigned, request that the Canadian government match the U.S. financial commitment of $3.2 million dollars towards Monarch Butterfly conservation.