Species at Risk

February 22, 2019
A monarch butterfly perches on a wildflower.
ARTHUR GURMANKIN—UIG/GETTY IMAGES

Monarch butterflies fly to warmer places when the weather gets cold. Many go to California.

But their numbers are falling. Every year, the Xerces Society counts monarchs in California. It found fewer than 30,000 of the butterflies in 2018. That’s 86% fewer than in 2017.

Bad weather may have kept the monarchs away. But habitat loss and pesticides could also be to blame. Researchers say it’s not too late to help monarchs. “There is still hope that we can recover the population if we work quickly,” the Xerces Society says on its website.