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Go Into the Heart of a Kaleidoscope of Monarch Butterflies

Before monarch butterfly conservation became a focus in Mexico, the monarchs that gather in the mountainous forests of Michoacán were considered a plague or an infestation. Second generation Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve sanctuary guide Pedro Martinez describes how this perspective has changed over the decades and, in the face of the monarch’s endangered status, how he hopes for their health for future generations.

Monarchs winter in these pine and oyamel fir forests after migrating up to 4,500 km (3,000 miles) from Canada and the United States over multiple generations, facing habitat loss, climate events, agricultural chemical use, and other threats. Since the Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca’s opening in 1980, the swarms have become a protected and beloved part of Mexico’s natural wonders.

In March 2018 news, the annual population census of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico is down by 14.8% from the previous winter:

Speaking at a news conference in Mexico City, officials said nine colonies of monarch butterflies had been recorded in Mexico in the 2017/2018 winter months, down from 13 last year… In 1996/97 the butterflies could be found in about 18 hectares of forest in the states of Mexico and Michoacán. This past winter, only 2.48 hectares had monarch colonies.

To learn more about helping the monarchs, pair How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids with this video: How to Create Your Own Monarch Butterfly Rest Stop. Plus, learn more with Flight of the Butterflies on Amazon, on Netflix, or at your local science museum.

Related videos on this site: Visiting the Reserva de la Biósfera Santuario Mariposa Monarca, Monarch Butterfly Metamorphosis in HD, and more videos about Mexico.

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