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article imageCanadians to knit for monarch butterflies Special

By Tim Sandle     Apr 2, 2015 in Environment
The David Suzuki Foundation is asking Canadians to knit during the spring as a way of symbolically welcoming monarch butterflies back to the country after a long, difficult winter in Mexico.
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a milkweed butterfly. The butterfly is beautiful to look at, its wings are composed of an easily recognizable orange and black pattern. The butterfly is facing population decline and there are several campaigns to protect the insect together with awareness projects. One estimate indicates that the monarch butterfly population has fallen from one billion in the 1990s to around 3 million.
Reasons for decline include the degradation of wintering habitats in Mexico and California and over-use of pesticides (as Digital Journalist Marcus Hondro sums up in an informative article.)
Adding to the issue of population decline, Faisal Moola, director-general at the David Suzuki Foundation told Digital Journal that: "Monarch butterfly populations have dropped by over 95 per cent in the past two decades. This past winter was another tough one for monarchs, so we want to give them the warmest possible welcome by encouraging Canadians to knit chrysalises through our #knit4monarchs campaign."
The new campaign, Moola explains, takes the form of a simple, customizable #knit4monarchs pattern that enables people to knit chrysalises. The aim is that these cozy cocoons will provide shelter for young monarch caterpillars when they are at greatest risk of exposure and predation.
Moola adds: "Now that scarf, toque and mitt season is almost over, we are calling on knitters across the country to give monarch caterpillars a head start this summer by creating cozy chrysalises, in move-in condition."
In addition to knitting, the charity is also calling on people to plant milkweed because this is the only plant that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on and it is additionally the primary source of food for monarch caterpillars.
More about Monarch butterfly, Butterflies, Ecology
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