We have talked about the monarch butterfly on a number of occasions. The population of these iconic orange and black butterflies in North America has plummeted from 1 billion to 33 million over the past 20 years. People have undertaken a variety of efforts to try to save the species but now a major project to restore the dwindling habitat of the monarch is underway.
The world’s smallest porpoise is in real trouble. According to scientists, there could be as few as 30 vaquitas remaining on the planet. We highlighted the plight facing this species in detail last month.
The world’s smallest porpoise – the vaquita – is in real trouble. According to a recent report by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (or CIRVA), the vaquita population has plummeted to just 30 individuals –a 90% plunge since 2011 – despite international conservation efforts. The vaquita, which is found only in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California, is the most endangered marine mammal on Earth and is on the doorstep of extinction.
There are many worries related to climate change, notably the increasing occurrence of extreme weather events, melting polar ice, rising seas, and so forth. But perhaps one of the most ominous warnings comes from a new report issued by the Climate Institute about the future of coffee.
Spring is the time of the great monarch migration when the butterflies leave their wintering grounds in Mexico and head north to Canada. As we have been saying for quite some time, fewer and fewer butterflies have been making the trek each year. Twenty years ago, a billion monarchs swarmed the winter site in Mexico. In 2013, the number was down to 33 million.
Water is a simple chemical compound containing two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom connected by covalent bonds. It covers 71% of Earth’s surface and is vital for all forms of life. Despite its abundance, water that is safe for drinking is globally in short supply.
We have done a number of stories about the sad state of the monarch butterfly and how their numbers have dropped from a billion to only 33 million as of a couple of years ago. Biologists in the U.S. have been trying to restore the summer habitat of the butterflies by urging the planting of milkweed, which is the primary host plants for monarch butterfly caterpillars.
There has been plenty of discussion of El Niño, the periodic weather phenomenon in which prevailing easterly winds in the Pacific Ocean weaken, allowing warm water to move eastward and wreak havoc with the weather in North and South America. The current El Niño is a particularly strong one; some say it may be one of the strongest ever and are calling it the “Godzilla El Niño.”
We have talked about monarch butterflies before. The orange and black butterflies are often used in school lessons about insect ecology. Monarch caterpillars forage exclusively on milkweed; in the process they acquire foul-tasting chemicals that ward off predators. In late summer, monarchs living in the Eastern U.S. migrate to overwintering grounds in Mexico.