Good news from Mexico monarch reserve despite looming deforestation, mine threat

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  • On today’s episode, we talk with Mongabay contributor Martha Pskowski, who recently traveled to central Mexico to report on threats to monarch butterflies in their overwintering grounds.
  • Tourists typically arrive in droves to see the butterflies at the reserves set up in their overwintering grounds, and right now is a particularly good time to see the butterflies, as Mexico’s national commissioner for protected natural areas has announced that, after years of declines, the number of monarchs spending their winter in Mexico is up 144 percent from last year.
  • As Pskowski found on her recent reporting trip to two different monarch butterfly reserves in the Mexican states of Michoacán and the State of Mexico, the annual arrival of the monarchs is a major component of the local economy, but the butterflies still face a variety of threats to their survival once they reach their overwintering grounds.

On today’s episode, we talk with Mongabay contributor Martha Pskowski, who recently traveled to central Mexico to report on threats to monarch butterflies in their overwintering grounds.

Listen here:

 

A large population of monarch butterflies migrates from the United States and Canada to central Mexico every year. Tourists typically arrive in droves to see the butterflies at the reserves set up in their overwintering grounds. Right now is a particularly good time to see the butterflies, as Mexico’s national commissioner for protected natural areas has announced that, after years of declines, the number of monarchs spending their winter in Mexico is up 144 percent from last year.

Scientists have cited a number of reasons why fewer monarchs might have made it to Mexico in recent years, including a more perilous migration route, the eradication of the milkweed the butterflies lay their eggs on in their breeding grounds in the US Midwest, and climate change, which is making milkweed too toxic for monarch caterpillars to eat. Recent research even suggested that at least some monarchs are giving up their migratory ways altogether and joining butterfly populations that are permanent residents of southern Florida.

As Mongabay contributor Martha Pskowski found on her recent reporting trip to two different monarch butterfly reserves in the Mexican states of Michoacán and Mexico, the annual arrival of the monarchs is a major component of the local economy, but the butterflies still face a variety of threats to their survival once they reach their overwintering grounds.

The locals Pskowski spoke with who rely on monarch tourism for their livelihood are members of ejidos, communities in Mexico that collectively own and manage their land. Many ejidos run some type of communal enterprise, such as sustainable forestry operations or ecotourism. In this case, the communities maintain the butterfly reserves. To hear more about ejidos, check out this Mongabay Newscast episode from May 2018, which features the voices of many ejidatarios from Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

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Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on a Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Photo Credit: © Derek Ramsey / derekramsey.com. Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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This story first appeared on Mongabay

South Africa Today – Environment



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