Mexico Sees Big Fall in Monarch Butterflies at Wintering Sites
Mark Stevenson - Associated Press
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February 10, 2024

Monarch butterflies have declined this winter in Mexico (The Globe and Mail)

The number of monarch butterflies at their wintering areas in Mexico dropped by 59% this year to the second lowest level since record keeping began, experts say, blaming heat, drought and loss of habitat.

The butterflies’ migration from Canada and the United States to Mexico and back again is considered a marvel of nature. No single butterfly lives to complete the entire journey.

Mexico’s Commission for National Protected Areas said the butterflies covered an area equivalent to 2.2 acres (0.9 hectares), down from 5.4 acres (2.21 hectares) last year.

The lowest level was in 2013 at 1.65 acres (0.67 hectares).

Experts said heat and drought appeared to be the main culprits in this year's drought.

“It has a lot to do with climate change,” said Gloria Tavera, the commission's conservation director.

Experts noted there were almost no butterflies at some traditional wintering grounds, because the monarchs appeared to have moved to higher, cooler mountain tops nearby. About two-thirds of the butterflies counted this year were found outside the traditional reserves.

The butterflies themselves aren't at risk of disappearing, but the monarchs’ migration is. It's the longest migration of any insect species known to science.

Read the rest at U.S. News

Related: State of the World’s Migratory Species Report ‘Alarming’ Threats, Global Action Urged (IPS)

Related: Earth Crossed 1.5c of Warming This Year. Here’s What to Know (Washington Post)

Related: 2024 Begins With More Record Heat Worldwide (The New York Times)

  Learn about Butterfly Sanctuary Jardin Magico

  Learn about Monarch Defenders

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