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Monarch Population in Jeopardy After Mexican Storm

Sonya Varma - CBC News
go to original
May 27, 2016

Freezing rain and snow coated and killed monarch butterflies in Mexico back in March. (Homero Gomez/Journey North)

North Americans hoping to catch a glimpse of monarch butterflies this spring will have to look a little harder because a late winter storm in Mexico may have wiped out up to 50 per cent of the butterfly's population.

Rain, sleet and snow ravaged over-wintering colonies in Mexico on March 8 and 9, leaving butterflies frozen to trees and dead on the ground.

Lingering effects of the storm aren't yet known for sure, but experts are preparing for plummeting numbers.

"Right now, it certainly looks like it's going to be a much lower population. It doesn't look particularly good," warned Chip Taylor, a professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas and founder and director of Monarch Watch.

Monarch Watch described the storm that affected nine colonies in Mexico as "unprecedented."

There is no firm count of the monarchs that died in the storm. Estimates range wildly from three to 50 per cent because monarchs had already started their journey north.

Read the rest at CBC News

Related: Two Environmental Groups Sue on Behalf of the Monarch Butterfly (PRI's The World)

Related: Can Planting More Milkweed Save Monarch Butterflies? It's Complicated (NPR)

Related: U.S. Government Is Determined to Grant Safe Passage to Monarch Migrant Population (Fusion)

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