Conservation efforts paid off, and it’s expected that the monarch butterfly kingdom in Mexico will quadruple this year on their annual migration.
- In 1990s, monarch butterflies stood at a population of 1 billion
- The steep decline reached just 35 million monarchs in 2013
- In 2014, the numbers rebounded a little to 56.6 million
- The hopes of conservationists is that the population of monarch butterflies will reach 225 million in the future
The monarch butterflies have become the center of attention for many groups. Their numbers have seen to a steep decline, and many have gathered efforts to save them from extinction. They’re a beautiful species, with their black and orange colors that draw millions of visitors in central Mexico during their annual journey.
Every year, millions of monarchs embark upon an 2,500 miles-long voyage from the United States and Canada to the warmer Mexico for the winter. It’s a spectacular sight that is still in danger of never being seen again. However, new reports state that the maters have been improving. Through joint efforts, it seems there is a chance for the butterflies to survive.
In the 1990s, their population stood at a stable and whopping 1 billion. However, that high number plummeted by a near 90%, with the peak of the dip reached two years ago. In 2013, the population of monarchs declined to 35 millions. This has been due to different environmental factors, along with a few choice human activities.
In the United States, their population has been endangered by the use of pesticides that essentially killed most of the milkweed they rely upon for food or laying eggs. It’s a weed plant that is harmful to others, which has led to its extermination. However, plans have been made to grow the milkweed on the side of highways, far away from crops where they could cause harm.
In Mexico, the reason for the monarchs’ decline has been placed on illegal logging activity. The aggressive cutting down of vital forest environments have deprived the butterflies of homes through the winters. Multiple measures have been taken, yet the World Wildlife Fund has recorded an unfortunate increase of illegal logging regardless.
This year, U.S. Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, along with Mexican Environment Secretary, Rafael Pacchiano, have both stated that they expected three or four times more monarchs to arrive in Mexico this year. Last year, they stood at 56.6 million, which hinted an improvement. In 2015, it could be even better, but it remains to be seen when the season will officially start on November 21st.
They are optimistic about their numbers, and have stated that their efforts are aimed high. According to Jewell, their ambitions stretch to seeing 225 million monarch butterflies gracing the skies and forests of central Mexico. The epic migration and long journey should reach at least a quarter of the magnificence it held over two decades ago.
Image source: flickr.com