Monarch’s fate in the hands of three world leaders

Many environmentalists, scientists, writers and authors hope the Monarch butterfly will make its way on to the summit conference agenda in Mexico this week.

Prime Minister Harper along with US President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto will be at the summit, being held in Toluca, located close to Monarch breeding grounds.

In December 2013, scientists recorded a 44 per cent decline of Monarchs from the previous year, marking the lowest levels on record.

Due to habitat destruction, there has been a steady decline of Monarch butterflies in Mexico’s hibernating sanctuaries.

Protecting the species means taking efforts in all three countries to ensure protection of each phase of the butterfly’s annual cycle of breeding, migrating, and hibernating.

These issues were addressed in an open letter signed by many environmentalists and Canadian authors, including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and John Ralston Saul.

The letter noted efforts made by the Mexican government to put an  end to illegal logging in the monarch region.

It also highlighted the need for the US and Canada to make changes to agriculture policies.

As milkweed is the only plant monarchs eat, and also where they lay their eggs, it is crucial to their survival. Milkweed is disappearing in Canada and US due to a common herbicide used by farmers to help keep insects off soybean and corn crops.

The World Wildlife Fund is also instrumental in encouraging action.

“This butterfly migration reflects an ancient bond between these nations that pre-date the countries themselves,” said WWF President and CEO, Carter Roberts.

Nieto announced that as part of the sustainable development talks, all three leaders agreed to create a tri-national working group for the conservation of the monarch butterfly.

“We have agreed to conserve the monarch butterfly as an emblematic species of North America which unites our three countries,” he said.

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