Board member Isabel Ramírez and her students walked 4km through the overwintering sites in Sierra Chincua and El Rosario and shared two videos: one in Chincua and another one in El Rosario. The monarchs are spectacular!
Experts from the WWF Mexico-Telmex-Telcel partnership in collaboration with the Natural Protected Areas Commission (CONANP) and the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR), have published a press release reporting a 114% increase of the surface covered by monarch butterfly colonies in the 2018-2019 overwintering period. They reported a total area of 6.05 hectares (14.95 acres) occupied by 14 butterfly colonies which compared to the 2.48 hectares (6.13 acres) reported last year is much higher. The graph above shows the population counts since 1994.
This is certainly encouraging news but it doesn’t mean our work is over. Insect populations fluctuate and monarch populations have been on a downward trend so we can’t let down our guard. MBF will continue working towards the conservation of the monarch butterfly’s migratory phenomenon and the protection of their breeding and overwintering habitats.
The journal Nature recently published an article about the assisted migration research that Dr. Cuauhtémoc Sáenz and his team have been doing for several years with support from MBF. Titled “Protecting monarch butterflies’ winter home could mean moving hundreds of trees” talks about shifting oyamel firs to higher elevations to help them weather warming temperatures due to climate change.
Recently, Alternare was named “Conservation Champion for 2018” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the OAS (Organization of American States) who recognized Alternare’s 20 years of work and their contributions to the conservation of the monarch butterfly’s migratory phenomenon. Dr. Cletus Springer, Director of the Sustainable Development Department of OAS said it best: “To the OAS this event may not have the glamour of the Golden Globe Awards or the Oscars; but I dare to say that in my mind, it is no less significant. Indeed, I would say it is even more meaningful because it speaks to a cause that is bigger than ANY of us and ALL of us. The cause of which I speak is the preservation of the invaluable, irreplaceable natural assets of our planet earth. Those who surrender to the vocation of caring for our planet, belong to a special class. They belong to a nobility; not an aristocracy. In mind, body, and spirit, these are people of outstanding virtue, full of goodness, honor, decency, sincerity and integrity.”
Additionally, Alternare won third place in the “10 Scalable and Innovative Initiatives” contest for rural sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This contest rewards successful and innovative initiatives that include healthy food, eradicating poverty, and climatic and environmental resilience that can be replicated in diverse rural lands.
As we get ready for the holidays this week, we invite you to join us in saying thanks. Thanksgiving gives us a chance to reflect and share what we are grateful for and #GivingTuesday allows us to put it in practice! Today please consider donating to the Monarch Butterfly Fund. Join millions of people all over the world on a day of gratitude supporting the causes we all hold dear.
While the monarch butterfly is our main concern, many other organisms also inhabit the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR). This year, MBF funded a project to collect, organize, review, process, and analyze acoustic, ultrasonic and wildlife camera files collected during 2016 in the MBBR by several NGOs (members of the Monarch Network-Red Monarca) to enhance the existing data base in the National System to Monitor Biodiversity (SNMB). To read more about this project click on the Grants tab, select Current Projects and go to the Scientific Research and Monitoring section.
Below some of the species photographed in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve: