Monarch butterfly population in Mexico dropped 22%

Monarch butterfly population in Mexico dropped 22%
Monarch butterflies, photo: Canva

The monarch butterfly population that arrived in Mexico to hibernate this winter has declined by 22 percent from the previous year, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Mexico’s Commission for National Protected Areas.

The migratory monarch butterflies travel up to 2,000 miles from Canada across North America to reach Mexico’s forests. However, the butterflies occupied only 2.21 hectares of forest in December 2022, compared to 2.84 hectares in the previous winter season.

The decline in population is attributed to the impact of climate change on the butterflies’ migration pattern.

“The high presence of pests and diseases are affecting the forests. Much is associated with water stress, which stems from a climatic issue. Suddenly, we have extreme temperature drops in the north of the country,” Gloria Tavera, the conservation director general of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, said.

“Much longer frozen areas or much longer extreme drought. All this causes a change in the structure that weakens the trees, making them much more susceptible to forest pests or diseases,” Tavera added.

The decline in the monarch butterfly population is concerning as the butterflies play a vital role in pollinating many plant species as they move from flower to flower in search of nectar. Conservationists have been calling for better protection of the insects.

They monarch butterfly are best known for its annual long-distance migration, travelling from Canada across North America to winter in Mexico. This journey can span up to 3,000 miles and is one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom.

Monarch butterflies are known for their distinctive orange and black wings, which feature a pattern of detailed veins and white spots along the edges. They are one of the most widely recognized butterfly species in North America. They are often seen in gardens and parks across the continent.


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