The National Wildlife Federation

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Monarch Butterflies Still Need Our Help

Washington, DC — The 2019 Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count report, published today by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, highlights a discouraging yet promising stability in monarch numbers. The National Wildlife Federation underscores the need to continue aggressive conservation efforts if we want to see the species recovered.

“The western monarch population remains dangerously low,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “While the news today is not entirely dire — and Xerces Society provides a tremendous public service compiling this invaluable report — we desperately need an all-hands-on-deck approach to restore monarch butterfly habitat to help recover the species. We encourage all residents across the West to plant native milkweed and flowering plants in their gardens and communities.”

Anyone can help the monarch butterfly by:

  • Gardening for wildlife and replacing lawns with native milkweed plants (excluding coastal areas in California) and blooming wildflowers and shrubs.
  • Reducing the use of pesticides.
  • Encouraging local lawmakers to join the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, which supports habitat restoration, citizen science, environmental education and local policy change to benefit monarch butterflies. 
  • Calling on Congress to promote grassland restoration and enact a national “Sodsaver” program in the next Farm Bill. This will prevent the conversion of our native grassland habitats to croplands by making such lands ineligible for federal subsidies.

Interview Opportunity – National Wildlife Federation naturalist and media spokesperson David Mizejewski is available to discuss these findings and what people can do to support western monarch recovery. Contact Hali Simon at simonh@nwf.org or (862) 686-0600 to book Mizejewski.

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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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