Western Monarch Butterfly Population Decline by Center for Biological Diversity

In 2020, the western monarch butterfly population catastrophically declined to its lowest numbers since counts began – from 1.2 million in 1997 down to fewer than 2,000 butterflies. I created this timelapse animation of their population over the years to highlight how dire the situation is for this species.

Monarch butterflies presented a unique opportunity when it comes to wildlife data visualizations: they’re recognizable at small scales so they can be visualized as their authentic selves instead of with abstract symbology. This makes it easy to emotionally connect the lastlings at the end of the video to their real-life counterparts – dwindling and increasingly alone.