A rare plant has been at the center of a fight between conservationists and Texas officials.
Texas AG Ken Paxton has lost a court case in what is being proclaimed as a victory for conservationists- as well as butterflies!
A court case has been fought over the prostate milkweed, a rare plant that grows only in the Texas-Mexico borderlands. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wanted the plant declared an endangered species and mandated for protection of its habitat.
The plant is also essential to the Monarch butterfly as they head north from Mexico after the winter. Monarch caterpillars can only eat milkweed, and female monarchs only lay their eggs on milkweed. So without the milkweed, the butterflies would perish.
Protecting the plant was at odds with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who wanted to construct a border wall along part of the region the plant is grown. Paxton argued protecting the plant would create an "influx of illegal aliens" and have "a significant impact on national security by preventing Texas’s efforts to address the border crisis."
"Monarchs are this symbol of migration. They travel all across America. The barrier to migration is what’s jeopardizing their host plant." Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.
This week however, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) ruled "the prostrate milkweed (Asclepias prostrata), a plant species from Texas, as an endangered species and designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973."
Strike it up as a win for the butterflies over Ken Paxton!
Are you glad the plant was ruled as an endangered species? Or would you prefer for more border walls to be constructed along the southern Texas border?
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