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Western Monarch Over-wintering Population Plummets
updated: Jan 03, 2014, 11:00 AM
By Larry Dighera
Here is the Western Monarch Status as of
December 8th. There were approximately 2,500 monarch butterflies at the grove.
"The Goleta Butterfly Grove (also known as the Ellwood Main Monarch Aggregation Site) is one of the
largest overwintering sites in California."
View the Historic Chart
Once 80,000 butterflies could be found clinging to the Eucalyptus trees on Ellwood Mesa. Today they are
all but gone.
Wouldn't planting a few acres of milkweed assist in mitigating the decline? What would it take to start a
campaign to preserve the western Monarch population at Ellwood Mesa?
Please help preserve this noble species of international travelers.
Read more articles here.
Updated information provided by Larry Dighera:
Thank you all for taking the time to address the issue of declining
Monarch butterfly populations in North America.
Here are a couple of articles that substantiate the decline of
Monarchs:LA Times World
LA Times 2014
As you will read, this issue is being brought to the attention of the
national leaders of Canada, USA, and Mexico. I am unaware of this
having happened in the past.
With regard to GMOs as a possible factor in the decline of Monarchs,
here is an article that offers an additional source of concern to the
Monarch populations, beyond those raised in the articles above:
"A study to be published in the May 20, 1999, Nature magazine finds
that pollen from genetically engineered corn plants is toxic to
monarch butterflies. The corn was genetically engineered to contain a
toxin from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). In 1998, almost
20% of US corn acreage was planted with Bt corn as a means to control
insects, and acreage is expected to increase in 1999.
"Bt corn is engineered to contain a pesticide throughout the plant,"
said Dr. Rebecca Goldburg, an Environmental Defense Fund senior
scientist. "Today's Nature study clearly demonstrates that the
pesticide in Bt corn is dispersed with pollen, killing monarch
Corn plants produce huge quantities of pollen, which dusts the leaves
of plants growing near corn fields. The Nature study found that close
to half the monarch caterpillars that fed on milkweed leaves dusted
with Bt corn pollen died. Surviving caterpillars were about half the
size of caterpillars that fed on leaves dusted with pollen from
"For too long genetic engineering has been presented to the public as
a 'safe' alternative to traditional pesticide spraying, but
genetically engineered crops are really just being used as a new means
to disseminate chemical pesticides. Monarchs that feed on pollen
covered milkweed near Bt corn fields might as well be eating pesticide
sprayed milkweeds," said Goldburg. "Either way the result is dead
I would like to propose that a coalition of concerned individuals
sponsor a crowd-funded initiative to pay genetic scientists to create
RoundUp resistant strains of milkweed, and have them planted
nationally as a partial attempt at mitigation.
Anyone wishing to plant milkweed in their yards to attract and
propagate Monarchs may send me a self-addressed-stamped-envelope, and
I will send you some seeds. Here's the address: Save the Santa
Barbara Monarchs, PO Box 60936, Santa Barbara, CA 93160.
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