Lonely Planet Writer

Illegal logging could kill off butterflies in the US

The black, yellow and orange monarch butterflies could soon be extinct in the US and Mexico as their habitat is gradually being destroyed by illegal logging.

A monarch butterfly.
A monarch butterfly. Image by William Warby / CC BY 2.0

Each winter this iconic insect flies south but with decreasing habitat and the more hostile environmental factors it creates there are concerns over whether they will return. Despite efforts to reduce logging around the Piedra Herrada butterfly sanctuary, satellite images have recorded a massive 47 acres have been stripped by this illegal activity. US Fish and Wildlife Services approximated that there were one billion monarch butterflies in the US in 1996 but that that total has dropped by 90 percent. An estimated $2 million dollars have been spent by the Services on conservation efforts since February. Read more: news.vice.com