Western Monarch Population Closer to Extinction; Still no Federal or State Protection in Sight

Population that winters along the California coast hit a low of less than 2,000 butterflies—a 99.9% decline since the 1980s. We must take action now to save the western monarch migration.

Expert Contacts
Sarina Jepsen, Director of Endangered Species
(971) 244-3727 | [email protected]

Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director
[email protected] | 503-449-3792

PORTLAND, Ore., January 19, 2021—The Xerces Society today announced that only 1,914 monarch butterflies were recorded overwintering on the California coast this year. This critically low number follows two years with fewer than 30,000 butterflies—the previous record lows—indicating that the western monarch butterfly migration is nearing collapse.

The final results from the 24th annual Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count show a 99.9% fall from the number of monarchs in the 1980s, when butterflies filled trees from Marin County to San Diego County.

“In only a few decades, a migration of millions has been reduced to less than two thousand butterflies,” said Stephanie McKnight, a conservation biologist with the Xerces Society who helps coordinate the counting.

Read the rest of this press release here.