(Mirror Daily, United States) – Mexico’s monarch butterflies could quadruple in numbers after coordinated preservation efforts were made to help the species recover all across North America. After surviving a significant decline that has spanned over the past two decades, the monarch butterflies are actually expected to quadruple their numbers this season according to Mexico’s environment minister.
The species is quite unique and set apart by its lengthy annual migration south to the more temperate forests of central Mexico where they usually travel to spend the winter. The millions of butterflies travelling to Mexico every year during the winter months are a very popular tourist attraction and have been in danger of completely disappearing from the area in the last 20 years because of massive declines in their population.
However tourists and butterfly lovers wanting to visit the Mexican forests where the tiny insects travel can rest assured that they will spot plenty of butterflies this year as the authorities expect a four-fold increase in the number of winged visitors they will have this season.
Things haven’t always looked so great for the monarch butterflies however as their population decreased by almost 90 percent only two years ago leaving only around 35 million specimens left. The decline began almost two decades ago and had been worsening constantly throughout the years. With the preservation measures taken, this would be the first season when such an impressive result in restoring the species to a balanced population.
Monarch butterflies were doing fine in the 1990 when their population peaked at roughly 1 billion insects. But the insects have been very much harmed by the use of pesticide and by illegal logging, both practices that have contributed to the destruction of the milkweed plants on which the butterflies rely as a source of food and a shelter in which to lay their eggs. The disappearance of many of these plants caused a massive decline in the butterfly population.
But Mexican Environment Secretary Rafael Pacchiano says that this year there is good news for the butterflies. He is expecting their numbers to triple or even quadruple compared to last year. According to Pacchiano there were 56.6 million monarch butterflies that made the long journey to Mexico last year.
The environment secretary went on to say that the rise in the monarch butterfly population is the result of a series of increased conservation measures put in effect last year by a committee of officials from Canada, the United States and Mexico. The combined effort has paid off as larger numbers of butterflies are expected to travel more than 2500 miles from Canada, across the U.S. and into Mexico this year.
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