Each fall the monarch butterfly travels thousands of miles to spend the winter in the forests on 12 mountaintops in central Mexico. The monarch migration is the most spectacular two-way migration carried out by an insect.
The forests provide unique microclimatic conditions that allow monarchs to survive the winter. Forest degradation is putting this amazing migration in peril.
The abundance of monarchs shows a discouraging downward trend over the past 20+ years. Click on the graph to enlarge and on this link to read how the numbers were obtained.
In the Spotlight
Monarchs are about to arrive in Mexico but this overwintering season things are going to be different. For one, the day of the dead is going to be celebrated virtually, but most importantly there will be new health protocols (article in Spanish here) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the visits are outdoors the risk of contagion is not too high but nonetheless certain restrictions will be applied. Local tourists, national and international will be required to wear a mask, physically distance, have their temperature taken before entering the sites and will be limited to 20 people at a time. So far, authorities have indicated that the Sierra Chincua and El Rosario sanctuaries will be open under this new protocol, but Cerro Pelón will be closed. We can only hope for the best as we keep on being vigilant of the pandemic and follow the guidelines to stay safe and healthy.