This video from North America is called Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed leaves.
By Debbie Hadley in the USA:
Monsanto, Milkweed, and the Declining Monarch Migration
March 18, 2013
By now, you’ve probably heard the bad news. This winter’s eastern monarch population hit a record low, occupying a scant 1.19 hectares of oyamel forest in Mexico. Since 1975, when the monarch overwintering habitat was discovered, scientists have never recorded numbers this low. Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch notes that this represents a 59% decline over the previous year. And 2011-2012 was not a good year, either.
While much of our attention over the past three decades has been focused on saving the monarchs‘ winter habitat in Mexico, we’ve done very little to preserve their breeding habitat here in the U.S. Monarch caterpillars are specialist feeders that feed only on milkweeds (genus Asclepias). As milkweed goes, so go the monarchs.
By some estimates, a full 70% of monarch butterflies fed on milkweeds growing in farm fields in the past. But thanks to Monsanto, an agricultural biotechnology corporation and the world’s leading producer of the herbicide Roundup, most of those farm fields no longer sprout milkweed. In the past 20 years, Monsanto introduced Roundup Ready corn and soybeans, and farmers were quick to adopt these genetically-modified crops. Instead of tilling their fields to control weeds, farmers spray them with Roundup. The Roundup Ready crops continue to grow, while the weeds – including the milkweeds – die back. Milkweed can tolerate tilling, but not Roundup.
June 2013. The percentage of forest occupied by monarch butterflies in Mexico, used as an indicator of the number of butterflies that arrive in Mexico each winter, has reached its lowest level in two decades. According to a survey carried out during the 2012-2013 winter season by the WWF-Telcel Alliance, and Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Areas (CONAP), the nine hibernating colonies occupy a total area of 2.94 acres of forest-representing a 59% decrease from the 2011-2012 survey of 7.14 acres: here.
March 2013. The Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health made up of representatives from Member States within the European Union met recently to discuss a substantial ban on neonicotinoid insecticides. Member States voted on the proposed ban but there was no consensus, and the ban has not been approved: here.
- GMOs Drive Monarch Butterfly Populations to ‘Ominous’ Lows (commondreams.org)
- Monarch butterflies in trouble (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Monarch Butterflies’ Population Steadily Declining, But Why? (scienceworldreport.com)
- Monarch Butterflies Dying, Lowest Levels in Decades: Reports (theepochtimes.com)
- Where Have All the Monarch Butterflies Gone? (thefunlifeofsophia.wordpress.com)
- Monarch butterfly numbers drop by ‘ominous’ 59% (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Scientists see ominous decline in Mexico’s Monarch butterflies (science.nbcnews.com)
- How Monsanto is killing off the monarch butterfly (beyondmeds.com)
- Why the monarch butterfly migration may be endangered (cbc.ca)
- Monarch butterflies threatened by loss of habitat (pri.org)