For scientist Tierra Curry, the monarch butterfly is part of the American experience. Native to North America, once present in every U.S. state except for Alaska, the insect with the distinctive and colorful wings is known for its spectacular migration each year from Mexico to Canada and back. But scientists like Curry have seen the monarch’s numbers plummet. The population has dropped by 90% in the last two decades alone.
Now, Curry sees some hope.
On Monday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would conduct a one-year status review of the butterfly species to determine whether it warranted Endangered Species Act protection.
“The Endangered Species Act is the most powerful tool available to save monarchs, so I’m really happy these amazing butterflies are a step closer to the protection they so desperately need,” Curry said.