Sunday, March 13, 2016

Unfortunate Winter Update on our Monarchs

Our migration Monarch are hardly out the woods, so to speak.  Although this year's wintering Monarch count in January showed great improvement over recent years, winter has taken an ugly turn. A late season snow has fallen in Mexico's Butterfly Reserves.  

Weather disruptions brought on by climate change, both winter storms and off-season droughts, have contributed to low population numbers.  Add a shortage of Milkweed for host plants, and the continued bombardment of herbicides and pesticides, and you will see our conservation work is far from done.

Read the full news release from MEXICONEWSDAILY.COM below:

Snow and cold takes toll on monarchs

As many as 11 million butterflies might have died

Mexico News Daily | Saturday, March 12, 2016
The beleaguered monarch butterflies can’t get a break. The numbers that arrived in Mexico for the winter were up, but cold weather has killed as many as 11 million in the last few days, according to one report.
Rosario spokesman Homero Gómez González was able to see the monarch deaths in a positive light. He pointed out that the majority had survived despite snowfall levels that hadn’t been seen in 40 years.At the El Rosario sanctuary in Michoacán, where winter storm No. 11 brought 35 centimeters of snow and temperatures that plunged to -12 C, they say about 1.5 million butterflies have died.
However, the National Protected Areas Commission said its inspection of the monarchs’ reserve revealed that the butterflies had resisted the effects of cold, snow and wind.
Conflicting reports should not be surprising considering the conflicts that evidently exist between the local stewards of the butterfly reserve and government agencies.
Gómez González said government representatives show up to have their photos taken and to justify their salaries, “yet in reality we receive nothing in the way of support. Proof of that is that we ourselves have reforested the areas [affected by logging].”
For government functionaries, he charged, “it’s pure bureaucracy.”
The butterflies, which migrate annually from the United States and Canada, were up in numbers this year after steady declines for several years. Numbers are estimated by the area they cover, which this year is about four hectares, up from 1.13 last year.
But two decades ago they covered as much as 20 hectares.
This year’s coverage of four hectares has been estimated to represent at least 100 million butterflies. Loss of habitat in the U.S. and Mexico has been blamed for the declining population.
Source: El Universal (sp)
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