Jul 6, 2023
Many people, perhaps most including some scientists, think Monarch Butterflies are in trouble. It turns out, according to Monarch expert and researcher, Andy Davis, PhD from the UGA Odum School of Ecology that Monarch populations over the past decade are stable and may even be climbing. So what began as a Zoo Logic conversation about threats to Monarchs quickly turned into a discussion about the importance of science communications and the difficulty of correcting the public narrative when it is factually wrong. The implications of strongly held, false narratives among the public, media or policymakers are significant and include expensive, misguided and even harmful public policies, what types of research questions are funded or not, and whether data running contrary to the prevailing opinion even gets published in peer-reviewed journals. The parallels to the strongly held narratives about zoos and aquariums and certain charismatic species in human care are unmistakable.