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UM researchers stress importance of saving monarch butterflies

Monarch butterfly
National Parks Gallery
Monarch butterfly

Researchers at the University of Michigan are hoping that people will take action now that monarch butterflies have been listed as endangered.

The prestigious International Union for the Conservation of Nature has listed monarch butterflies on its red list of threatened species. For researchers at the University of Michigan, this comes as no surprise.

Mark Hunter is a professor of ecology at U-M, and he has personally seen monarchs become harder and harder to find in Michigan. Now, he says that a further decline will lead to real problems for agricultural workers in the state.

“In Michigan, we have a two-billion-dollar fruit and vegetable industry that relies on pollination services, and so, when any species of pollinator decline, we’re going to see declines in those pollination services.”

Hunter says that people can help by planting native milkweed and by voting for candidates who support land conservation. But he warns the monarchs’ fall in numbers is just a warning sign of what’s currently happening to many plant and animal species.

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Michael Keegan is a reporter for the WEMU news department.
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