David Suzuki Foundation campaign asks feds to fund research, conservation
OTTAWA, May 8, 2017 — The David Suzuki Foundation launched a campaign this week calling on the federal government to take action to help monarch butterflies. Over the past 20 years, approximately 90 per cent of the monarch butterflies that migrate from Mexico to Canada have disappeared. After a couple of years of modest improvement, the monarch population dropped by 27 per cent last year.
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Supported by more than 8,500 Canadians who sent letters to their members of Parliament and the federal environment minister, the David Suzuki Foundation is calling for immediate funding for research and conservation efforts in Canada. In 2015, government agencies in the United States allocated more than $20 million and set a national target to restore 200,000 hectares of monarch habitat.
"The U.S. responded to the monarch butterfly crisis by investing millions and setting ambitious targets," said Jode Roberts, senior strategist at the David Suzuki Foundation. "In Canada, almost all of the meaningful action has come from citizens and groups that have been planting milkweed and native wildflowers in support of monarchs. It's time for the federal government to do its part."
In December 2016, scientists from Canada's Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommended that monarchs be listed as an endangered species under the federal Species at Risk Act. Despite this recommendation, the federal government has yet to legally protect monarchs.
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna became a passionate advocate for monarch recovery recently. Following a visit with her children to the alpine Mexican forests where monarchs overwinter, she wrote a heartfelt article calling on Canadians to act before monarchs go the way of passenger pigeons and buffalo.
"Programs can be quickly created in Canada to fund new research and conservation efforts, based on the U.S.'s remarkable progress," said Rachel Plotkin, science projects manager at the David Suzuki Foundation. "Targets can be set for planting milkweed and other butterfly-friendly species in thousands of yards, parks, roadsides, infrastructure corridors and natural spaces."