The efforts of conservationists all over the world are starting to pay off. After the good news about the northern spotted owl, it seems the monarch butterfly is finally faring well. It has been reported that this winter Mexico has been the home for 140 million such butterflies.
The migration that took place this year stands as a major change from the recent past when the numbers of monarch butterflies were very low. The insects formed an astonishing carpet on their winter grounds in Mexico. Lepidopterists can keep count of the beautiful butterflies by the covered area since they cluster on trees in high numbers. Therefore, it appears that this year an area larger than 3.5 times was recorded compared to the one of 2015, when monarch butterflies covered only 2.8 acres. The record low was reported in 2013 with 1.66 acres.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director, Dan Ashe, has stated that represents a tremendous success, but we must continue to work in the same direction in order to ensure the natural balance of wildlife. While the numbers are surely good news, there is still much work to be done for the monarch butterfly to achieve its population from the 1990s, when they used to cover 44 acres of Mexico.
According to senior scientist Tierra Curry from the Center for Biological Diversity in Washington, D.C.,
“The increase is certainly great news, but the bottom line is that monarchs must reach a much larger population size to be resilient to ever-increasing threats.”
Conservationists have focused on eliminating the butterflies’ threats such as harmful pesticides and the loss of habitat. The beautiful insects need trees to protect them from the cold of the winter, but the illegal logging in Mexico has recorded a rise, especially on the winter grounds. Only in 2015, 22 acres have disappeared. Officials are currently taking measures and arresting the culprits.
The Nature Conservancy representative for Mexico, Juan Bezaury, has pointed out that all three countries from North America need to cooperate for preserving the monarch butterfly, since the insects migrate over 3,400 miles.
In 2015, President Barack Obama himself has implemented a plan for creating a special corridor that would permit the insects to migrate safely. The project also involved planting and protecting milkweed, the much needed nectar-producing plant that feeds monarch butterflies.
However, the Center for Biological Diversity rests hesitant. The news of the revival of the butterfly is amazing, but we must continue to be vigilant and contribute to preserving the species.
Image Source: Earth Rangers