United States government spending millions to save Monarch butterfly

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United States government spending millions to save Monarch butterfly (Video at front)
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United States government spending millions to save Monarch butterfly
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has pledged $3.2 million to save monarch butterflies, which have seen a 90 percent decrease in population.
A monarch butterfly rests on a piece of moss at the Sierra Chincua Butterfly Sanctuary near Angangueo in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Climate change and increased use of herbicides are threatening the monarch migration as well as eco-tourism in the region which attracts 120,000 visitors annually, according to scientists at the World Wildlife Fund in Mexico. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A monarch butterfly rests on a piece of moss at the Sierra Chincua Butterfly Sanctuary near Angangueo in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Climate change and increased use of herbicides are threatening the monarch migration as well as eco-tourism in the region which attracts 120,000 visitors annually, according to scientists at the World Wildlife Fund in Mexico. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A monarch Butterfly waits for the sun on a rock at the Sierra Chincua Butterfly Sanctuary near Angangueo in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015. Climate change and increased use of herbicides are threatening the monarch migration as well as eco-tourism in the region which attracts 120,000 visitors annually, according to scientists at the World Wildlife Fund in Mexico. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
In this Jan. 4, 2015 photo, a guide holds up a Monarch butterfly as she explains the difference between male and female wing markings, at the Piedra Herrada sanctuary, near Valle de Bravo Mexico. More butterflies appear to have made the long flight from the U.S. and Canada to their winter nesting ground in western Mexico, raising hopes after their number dropped to a record low last year. But experts still fear that unusual cold temperatures will threaten the orange and black insects. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
This photo taken Oct. 25, 2014 shows a Monarch butterfly feeding on a Duranta flower in Houston. The federal government pledged $3.2 million on Monday to help save the monarch butterfly, the iconic orange-and-black butterfly that can migrate thousands of miles between the U.S. and Mexico each year. It has experienced a 90 percent decline in population recently. About $2 million will restore more than 200,000 acres of habitat from California to the Corn Belt, including more than 750 schoolyard habitats and pollinator gardens. The rest will be used to start a conservation fund that will provide grants to farmers and other landowners to conserve habitat. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is seen in this undated photo. Monarch butterflies use the angle and intensity of sunlight to fly by the thousands from the eastern United States to central Mexico, a journey that is one of the most remarkable and difficult migrations in nature. (AP Photo/David Weaver, Science)
FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2011 file photo a Monarch butterfly sits on a tree trunk at the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary in the mountains of Mexico's Michoacan state. A new study of the Monarch butterflies' winter nesting grounds in central Mexico shows that small-scale logging is more extensive than previously thought, and may be contributing to the threats facing the Monarch's singular migration pattern, according to a new study co-authored by Omar Vidal, the head of Mexico's chapter of the World Wildlife Fund. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)
A Monarch butterfly eats nectar from a swamp milkweed on the shore of Rock Lake in Pequot Lakes, Minn., Sunday, July 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
A Monarch butterfly sits on a stick at the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary, in the mountains of Mexico's Michoacan state, Friday, Dec. 9, 2011. The Monarch butterflies arrive in central Mexico usually around the first week of November, after their yearly 4000-kilometer (some 2500 miles) migration from Canada and begin their return around March. (AP Photo/ Marco Ugarte)
A Monarch butterfly gathers nectar from a wildflower in Carmel, Ind., Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
As the cold weather sets in a Monarch butterfly tries to get the last bit of nectar from a wilting rose in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 31, 2008. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) stops to collect nectar from a Lantana bloom in Tyler, Texas, on Sunday, Nov 1, 2009. The Monarchs are in the process of migrating back to Mexico. (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman).
A monarch butterfly alights on a flower Monday, Nov. 3, 2008 in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
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The monarch butterfly, with its orange-and-black wings, is one of the most recognizable butterflies around. But if trends keep up, it might not be around much longer. (Video via U.S. National Park Service)

The monarch's breeding grounds have been destroyed and threatened, leading to a 90 percent drop in its population.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has pledged $3.2 million to save the iconic insect, $2 million of which is going toward rebuilding 200,000 acres of habitat across the nation. The rest of the money will be given out in grants to those helping conserve the milkweed plant.

And humans are at least partly to blame. We've apparently gotten too good at weed control.

Monarch butterflies lay eggs exclusively on milkweed plants, because monarch caterpillars feed on milkweed leaves.

The director of the Fish and Wildlife Service said in a press conference in Washington D.C., weed killers have eradicated milkweed in areas across the country.

Despite the government's willingness to help, the monarch butterfly is not currently listed as an endangered species. But that could change. (Video via Discovery)

The Fish and Wildlife Service is in the middle of a one-year review to determine if the monarch should be classified under the Endangered Species Act, which would give it even more protection.




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