• February 4, 2023

Climate Change, Deforestation Hurting Monarch Butterfly Migration : NPR

Millions of monarch butterflies come to Mexico each year, after having been thousands of kilometers from the United States and Canada in some cases. Pedro Pardo / AFP via Getty Images Hide caption

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Pedro Pardo / AFP via Getty Images

Millions of monarch butterflies come to Mexico each year, after having been thousands of kilometers from the United States and Canada in some cases.

Pedro Pardo / AFP via Getty Images

2020 was a bad year for butterflies too.

The population of monarch butterflies that immigrated to Mexico to survive the cold winter months in the north declined by 26% year-on-year, according to a new report by the Mexican government and the Word Wildlife Fund.

Mexico’s Conservation Areas Commission said the butterfly population was only 2.10 hectares in 2020, compared to 2.8 hectares the previous year. And the Monosphere Biosphere Reserve in Michoacan, Mexico, lost trees faster than in 2019.

A combination of logging, falling trees and drought in the areas where the butterflies settle, as well as a reduction in milkweed in their breeding grounds, pose a threat to the migration of the monarch. However, the damage caused by climate change is the biggest factor.

In the spring and summer of 2020, wild weather was killed in the southern United States Spurge flowers – on which female monarch butterflies lay their eggs. The development of butterfly eggs and larvae is in turn affected, according to the report.

Despite the report’s findings, the butterfly is not critically endangered, said Jorge Rickards, director general of WWF-Mexico.

The monarch’s migration process is at risk, however, and the governments, scientific community and civil society of Mexico, the United States and Canada must work together to ensure the butterfly’s survival in the future.

Rickards said, “Monarch butterflies show us how individual work, in this case migration, can become extraordinary collaboration when all these migrants gather in the woods to hibernate together and to buffer the climate.”

The number of black and orange butterflies that hibernate in Mexico has been declining for several years, according to research by the World Wildlife Fund. The organization before said In 2013, the number of butterflies hibernating there during this period was the lowest in the last 20 years.

Colder, wetter winters can be deadly to monarchs, while hotter, drier summers change their habitats in the north.

The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration like birds do US Forest Service. Unlike other butterflies, monarchs cannot survive the cold winters of the northern climate.

Monarchs can travel anywhere from 50 to 100 miles per day. It can take up to two months for the insects to complete their winter journey.

Jack

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