Monarch Butterflies: New Victims of Climate Change
Monarch butterflies are not often thought of as being on the immediate frontline of global warming’s impacts, but that perception may need to change this year. A recent article in the Washington Post has shed light on the current climate plight of the monarch. As the butterflies start their migration back to Mexico this October, they must cross through a Central Texas recently torched by wildfires. These wildfires have taken out much of the vegetation and flowers that provide the nectar (i.e. food) the monarchs need to power them through the migration.
To see the connection, take a look at these maps. The first is map of Texas showing active wildfires during September. The second map shows the monarch migration route through Texas. The convergence is pretty clear. The wildfire and the central flyway migration route overlap through Central Texas.
So how is climate change involved in the equation? As NWF has reported, climate change begets drought and drought begets wildfires. So when wildfires occur at extreme levels, wildlife like the monarch end up being placed on the frontline of these climate-fueled events.
All of this brings into focus that climate change is impacting wildlife now and that it is urgent that we begin to confront the climate crisis.