Mexico Will See 4 Times More Monarch Butterflies This Year

Posted: Nov 16 2015, 10:11pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Mexico Will See 4 Times More Monarch Butterflies This Year
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Iconic butterfly is on a rebound after significant decline in the past two decades.

After a steep decline in population, the monarch butterfly has shown a remarkable rebound and now Mexico is expecting to see monarch butterflies quadruple in numbers this year.

"We are calculating that three to four times more butterflies will arrive compared to last year.” Mexican Environment Secretary Rafael Pacchiano said in a statement.

The iconic orange and black monarch butterfly covers a long distance from the south to high temperate forests of central Mexico to spend the winter season. This unusual lengthy migration sets it apart from other butterfly species.

The beautiful butterfly faced a staggering decline over the past two decades and was really on the brink of extinction when its almost 90 percent population vanished.

With coordinated conservation efforts all across North America, monarch butterfly population is expecting to rise four times higher than the previous year. Officials did not explain how the calculations were made. However, they did an informal tracking of monarch butterflies as they entered the territory of Mexico from the United States.

In the 1990s, the monarch was at peak with roughly 1 billion insects but it decreased to 35 million in just last two years due to illegal logging and excessive use of pesticide that has destroyed milkweed plants on which they are dependent for food and for laying eggs.

The monarch recovered slightly in 2014 when they covered about 2.79 acres (1.13 hectares) of forests in mountains west of Mexico city but this year there will be a lot more, covering up to 10 acres or 4 hectares.

Mexican Environment Secretary is linking the astonishing rebounding to a series of measures taken by Mexico, Canada and the United States collectively. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said, "Our agricultural practices must be adapted. ... We have to look at our use of pesticides. We have the goal of 225 million monarch butterflies returning right here, to Mexico, every year. We believe we can get there by working together."

Officials are hoping to take the monarch butterfly population to 6 hectares (14.8 acres) by 2020.

Source: Latin American Herald Tribune

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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