By Brian Banks
A recent Canadian report has declared the extraordinary and iconic
monarch butterfly at high risk of disappearing forever. Now a scientist
at Guelph University in Ontario has proven that Canada will have to
play a central role if there’s to be any hope of recovery.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW, AND WHAT YOU NEED TO DO… NOW
On December 5, 2016, just a few months ago, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) announced it was changing the monarch butterfly’s status from “special concern” to “endangered.” If there were a doomsday clock that symbolized the threat facing species at risk the way the world frames the threat of nuclear war, the announcement would be the equivalent of moving the time on that clock from about 15 minutes to midnight to 11:58 p.m.
“It is a big jump,” says Dr. Carolyn Callaghan, senior conservation biologist for terrestrial wildlife with the Canadian Wildlife Federation. “An alarm bell is being sounded.” Established by the federal Species at Risk Act as the primary authority for assessing the conservation status of wildlife species in Canada, COSEWIC is an arm’s-length body comprising species experts with scientific, aboriginal and community knowledge. When it issues a change in status, it is a serious matter. December’s announcement is no exception.