Monarch butterfly numbers on the rise in Mexico

In recent years, monarch butterflies have had their preferred habitat damaged by deforestation and commercial farming.

Monarch butterflies are arriving by the millions in Mexico — positive news for an iconic species whose numbers have dipped dramatically over the last decade.

The numbers of monarchs settling in Mexico far exceed the lows recorded the last two winters, according conservationists at dedicated butterfly habitat sanctuaries in Michoacan and Estado de Mexico, two of Mexico’s 31 states.

The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site in Michoacan, is the largest preserved monarch wintering site in the Americas.

“The property includes more than half of the overwintering colonies of the monarch butterfly’s eastern population,” according the reserve’s website.

Researchers at the reserve say the butterflies are already covering nearly 10 acres — a significant improvement over last year’s 3.2 acres.


But while conservationists at the reserve are happy about this winter’s monarch populations, some are voicing concerns with the allocation of funding earmarked for the protection of vital butterfly habitat.

“Elitist non-governmental organizations make use of alarming data in order to collect more donations, of which we see just a tiny portion,” local politician Homero Gomez Gonzalez told El Universal. “[NGOs like] the World Wildlife Fund, Alternar, Biocenosis and Pronatura keep all the resources from donations, and we see only a meager proportion of 2 or 3 percent applied to the preservation of the sanctuary.”

In recent years, monarch butterflies have had their preferred habitat damaged by deforestation and commercial farming, from Canada through the United States to Mexico.

But their latest obstacle may be the weather. Despite the good news of rising numbers in Mexico, scientists worry the butterflies will have to contend with unusually wet and cold conditions this winter.

By Brooks Hays Via |


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