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article imageMonarch butterfly numbers plunged 26 percent in one year

By Karen Graham     Feb 28, 2021 in Environment
The population of monarch butterflies that arrived in Mexico's forests to hibernate this winter fell 26 percent from a year earlier, the country's Commission for National Protected Areas and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said on Thursday.
According to the new report by the World Wildlife Fund and Mexico's government, in 2019, the monarchs occupied 2.83 hectares (7 acres) in their hibernation forests in Mexico. After their latest migration in 2020, however, they occupied just 2.1 hectares (5.1 acres).
The report found that several factors are at play in the reduction of the monarch population, including climate change, land-use change, and reduction of milkweed in their breeding places in the U.S. and Canada, reports CTV News Canada.
Monarch butterflies travel up to 4 500 kilometers (3 000 miles) each year from Canada and the United...
Monarch butterflies travel up to 4,500 kilometers (3,000 miles) each year from Canada and the United States to establish their colonies in the temperate oyamel and pine forests of west-central Mexico
Yuri Cortez, AFP/File
“During the spring and summer of 2020, climatic variations in the southern United States were not favorable for milkweed blossoms and the development of eggs and larvae. This limited the reproduction of the Monarch population, with an impact on the migrant generation, reducing the population of this insect throughout North America and leading to a smaller population occupying the Mexican forests during its hibernation,” the report said.
In December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that listing the butterfly species as endangered or threatened is "warranted" under the Endangered Species Act, but noted that other species with a higher priority needed to be listed.
The report also noted that clandestine logging is the primary cause of forest degradation in the core area. The ejido of Crescencio Morales and the Indigenous Communities of Nicolás Romero and San Felipe de Los Alzati suffered the greatest damage from this cause.
The director-general of WWF-Mexico, Jorge Rickards, noted that while the orange and black butterflies are not in danger of extinction, the species migratory process is at risk. He is urging the governments, the scientific community, and civil society from Mexico, the United States, and Canada to work on addressing the issue, according to The Hill.
"Monarch butterflies show us how individual work, in this case, migration, can become an exceptional collaborative exercise, when all these migrants gather in the forests to hibernate together and buffer the climate,": he said.
More about Monarch butterfly, Mexico city, WWF Report, Climate change, defotrstation
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