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Droughts affect butterfly migration in Mexico

12-05-2011 14:02 BJT

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A butterfly sanctuary in the temperate woods of central Mexico is an annual spectacle that draws tourists, scientists and locals alike. Millions of Monarch butterflies begin arriving in Mexico's internationally renowned reserve as part of their annual migration. However, biologists fear that droughts in the U.S. and Mexico this year will affect their numbers.

Millions of monarch butterflies flee the cold winters of Canada and northern United States and travel thousands of miles to hibernate and reproduce in the temperate woods of central Mexico. However, this year the number of the fabled monarch butterflies could drop after facing new threats from severe droughts.

Rosendo Caro, director of Mexico's Monarch Butterfly Reserve, said, "We have preliminary reports that the area the monarch butterflies will occupy this season will be lower than that of last year. Last year, the occupied area was 4 hectares. This time we expect it will be lower because the butterfly has been affected by the prolonged drought in western U.S. and in Mexico's northeast. The drought affects the butterfly because it feeds on wild plants and the plants don't grow normally when there is drought."

Illegal logging has long threatened the butterflies in western Mexico, where clouds of orange and black wings are a common sight during the winter. But the reserve is closely guarded.

Rebeliano Gonzalez, El Rosario Commissioner, said, "There are people guarding the area, we have brigades, five people over here, another five over there. The reserve is never unsupervised. We look after it on a daily basis, because we know it has its benefits otherwise the butterfly would no longer come here."

Millions of Monarch butterflies begin arriving in Mexico's internationally renowned reserve
as part of their annual migration. However, biologists fear that droughts in the U.S. and
Mexico this year will affect their numbers.(File photo)

Restaurants and other local businesses also make a living from the season.

Concha Castro, restaurant owner, said, "When the butterflies come, we can make some money and it's a benefit for the other land owners. They get their cut."

In the past, hundreds of trees crowded with butterflies could be seen along Mexico's 13,000-hectare monarch reserve. Many scientists blame recent extreme weather events on climate change caused by greenhouse gases including industrial carbon. They fear that after a 2,000-mile journey, the butterflies may not find a place to rest.

 

 

Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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