A monarch butterfly crawls up out of gravel and across a human's shoe

Butterfly tagging at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory attempts to avoid bleak future for migratory Monarchs

by MP Holmes

The Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory is hosting it’s 15th annual Monarch butterfly tagging event this weekend.

It is the local conservatory’s contribution to international conservation efforts to save a species at risk. At the annual event, migratory butterflies are caught, tagged and released before their southward journey that will take them 2,500 km to central Mexico.

Monarch butterfly numbers have plummeted in the last 30 years. Habitat destruction, herbicides and pesticide use, deforestation, unseasonable temperatures, and destructive storms that are much more frequent because of climate change have all taken their toll on the monarch. The US Fish and Wildlife Service found that since the early 1990s, the population of the eastern migratory butterfly has plummeted 90 %, and the United States Geological survey released a report in 2016 that predicted an 11–57 % probability that this population will go almost extinct over the next 20 years.

The tagging event has been organized by Andalyne Tofflemire, a naturalist and conservatory manager at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory.

Andalyne talked with CKMS about the event, how butterfly tagging works and why it is needed, and the data that has been collected. The conservatory manager also spoke about Monarch Watch (the volunteer-based citizen science organization that organizes the data collection) and what the future holds for migratory monarch butterflies.

The tagging event runs Sept. 9 and 10.

Listen to the radio program above:

The music on today’s show is called “Maple Music” by Godmode courtesy of by Expectantly Maple Music on YouTube.

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of  this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news., and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

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