Habitat loss to agriculture, deforestation, urbanization, draining of wetlands, and other changes in land-use is the foremost threat to butterfly populations. Although pollution, pesticides, and specimen collection pose serious threats to some species, none of these is as damaging as habitat loss. The short life span of butterflies usually makes it impossible for displaced populations to find another appropriate habitat. Although no species of butterfly is known to have been made extinct through human actions, some subspecies have been rendered extinct, and some rare species are endangered. Protection of habitat is the most effective way to prevent major reductions in populations and endangerment of butterflies, and of other wild animals and plants.
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Marie L. Thompson