Numbers of wintering monarch butterflies rise by 35% in Mexico after years of decline

Polarbear

Millions of monarch butterflies in the eastern United States and Canada traditionally arrive in the mountaintop pine and fir forests west of Mexico City in late October and the start of November. During the same period, California's Pacific coast also receives butterflies from inland areas of the Western United States. They normally leave for the US and Canada in March.

A government commission for natural protected areas which measured the amount of forest the butterflies covered found that the butterflies' population covered 2.84 hectares of forest this year, compared to 2.1 hectares last year.

Jorge Rickards, general manager of WWF-Mexico, said in a press release:

The increase in monarch butterflies is good news and indicates that we should continue working to maintain and reinforce conservation measures by Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Monarchs are important pollinators, and their migratory journey helps promote greater diversity of flowering plants, which benefits other species in natural ecosystems and contributes to the production of food for human consumption.

Monarch butterflies are threatened by pesticides, global climate change, loss of breeding habitat, and illegal logging of the forests where they migrate for the winter. Eradication of milkweed plants both in agricultural areas as well as in urban and suburban landscapes is also cited as a major reason for their population decline.

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