The monarch butterfly hovered one step closer to extinction on Thursday, as scientists put the iconic orange and black insect on the endangered list due to its rapidly declining numbers.

"It's just a catastrophic decline," said Stuart Pimm, an ecologist at Duke University who was not on the new list. "It's one of the most recognizable butterflies in the world."

"It's just a catastrophic decline," said Stuart Pimm, an ecologist at Duke University who was not on the new list. "It's one of the most recognizable butterflies in the world."

"Vulnerable" - two steps from extinction.Emma Pelton of the Xerces Society, a nonprofit that monitors western butterflies, said the butterflies are threatened by habitat loss.

And the increased use of herbicides and pesticides for agriculture, as well as climate change. "There are things people can do to.

Help," he said, including planting milkweed, a plant that caterpillars depend on. Non-migratory monarch butterflies were not listed as endangered in the United States.

The United States does not list monarch butterflies under the Endangered Species Act, but many environmental groups believe it should.

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