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In Mexico, Hopes of an Uptick in Butterfly Migration

Whitney Eulich - The Christian Science Monitor
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December 23, 2015
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Monarch butterflies amazing migration to Mexico (CCTV America)

The first sign of the butterflies is a detached wing laying in an open field and sighted after an hour-long horse ride up a steep, rocky mountain path on a crisp December afternoon.

Rogelio, a local guide at the Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, a state park, picks up the delicate black, white, and orange amulet and holds it above his head. “We’re getting close,” he says.

There’s another hour of travel – more horse-back riding on dense forest paths, culminating in a winding hike amid wild mint plants and giant pink thistles.

But the trek is short compared to the more than 3,000-mile journey south that brings millions of North American Monarch butterflies to the high-altitude tropical forests of Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains.

The Mexican government and international conservation groups are hopeful that the winged population this year could be three-to-four times the size of 2014, when there were an estimated 35 million butterflies covering nearly 10 acres in central Mexico.

It’s seen as good news. For two decades the winter migrations have declined dramatically. In 1996 the butterflies covered about 44 acres here and in neighboring Michoacán state and they numbered nearly one billion.

Today renewed multi-national efforts to preserve the farthest migrating butterfly population in the world seem to be working.

Read the rest at The Christian Science Monitor

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