Observations: The Last Butterflies?

The Last Butterflies?
If the Trump administration weakens the Endangered Species Act, many populations that are already dwindling will disappear
By Nick Haddad on September 19, 2019

A recent U.N. panel on biodiversity reported that there are one million species currently threatened with extinction. Most of those are the insects that make up two-thirds of the earth’s species. What we know about these vanishing insects is largely informed by scientific studies that show the alarming, decades-long decline of butterflies, including those listed under the Endangered Species Act.

As a conservation biologist, studying these butterflies has been my life’s work, and I am deeply troubled by the disastrous modifications to the Endangered Species Act recently announced by the Trump administration. Indeed, the changes could jeopardize one of the act’s signature successes: that no listed butterfly has yet gone extinct.


Nick Haddad is a professor and senior terrestrial ecologist in the Department of Integrative Biology and the W. K. Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University. He is the author of The Last Butterflies: A Scientist's Quest to Save a Rare and Vanishing Creature (Princeton University Press, 2019).

Posted on September 19, 2019 01:44 PM by andreacala andreacala


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