- David E Shaw
- David Shaw
- IUCN Red List
- Monarch Butterflies
- Patrons of Nature
- UNESCO world heritage site
- Service & Advocacy
Monarch Butterflies Designated Endangered Species by IUCN
by David Shaw
As a Patron of Nature at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), I’m very sad and disappointed to share tragic and disheartening news that the migratory monarch butterfly has now been listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List. Our Red List is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the conservation status of biological species.
According to IUCN, the population of migratory monarch butterflies has declined between 22% and 72% in the past decade, due to illegal logging and deforestation, development, pesticides, and herbicides which harm the butterflies themselves as well as their preferred food source, milkweed.
I visited the monarch butterfly sanctuary in Mexico, a UNESCO world heritage site, in 2010, and experienced the incredible over-wintering site of one population of monarchs with fascinating 3-generation migration ranges of 1200-2800 miles. I wrote about this trip in a previous blog post, and have since been inspired to advocate for reduced use of harmful pesticides, and I have planted milkweed on my property. As I write today, dozens of bright orange and black monarchs are feeding and fluttering in my yard on the coast of Maine.
I hope that our IUCN designation as “endangered” will be an impetus to mobilize effective protection for this amazing creature.