In summer, people in certain parts of the Midwest expect to see Monarch butterflies, but they’re becoming scarce. Experts think that this is because farm fields are now planted with genetically-modified corn and soybeans that are resistant to the herbicide Roundup, so farmers to spray the chemical over the entire crop in order to eradicate weeds. But when they do this, they also kill off the milkweed, which is the butterflies’ favorite food.
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Mexican President Vicente Fox has announced a program to protect the forests that are used as a winter haven by hundreds of millions of Monarch butterflies every year. A fund created by the government and private foundations called the Monarch Trust will pay local residents to stop cutting down trees and to grow additional forests in the areas visited by the butterflies. Fox visited the area recently and earmarked $12.4 for the job.

Each year, between 25 million and 170 million orange-and-black Monarch butterflies complete a journey of more than 3,000 miles from the United States and Canada to reach a butterfly reserve located in a small area of pine forest in the central Mexican states of Mexico and Michoacan. The butterflies return to the north in February and March. read more