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Monarch Butterflies Endangered

BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY Monarch butterflies are now an endangered species, according to the IUCN. DAVID CRANE—MEDIANEWS GROUP/LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS—GETTY IMAGES

Monarch butterflies are now an endangered species. That’s according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The group made its announcement on July 21.

The IUCN says the monarch butterfly population in North America has dropped between 22% and 72% in a 10-year period. The IUCN’s “endangered” category is two steps away from “extinct” on its Red List of Threatened Species.

“It’s just a devastating decline,” Stuart Pimm says. He’s an ecologist at Duke University. Pimm calls the monarch “one of the most recognizable butterflies in the world.”

The IUCN says climate change is a primary reason for the decline. People can help monarch butterflies by planting milkweed. Monarchs breed only where milkweed is growing. Female monarchs lay eggs on it, and monarch caterpillars eat it.