This is the reason of fewer monarch butterflies

"Where logging continued, monarch populations decreased 25%, according to Conanp reports," says Animal Político.
"Where logging continued, monarch populations decreased 25%, according to Conanp reports," says Animal Político.

The authorization of commercial logging in an area of the Nevado de Toluca reduced the population of monarch butterflies.

The monarch butterflies look for places to protect themselves in the winter season, and the Nevado de Toluca is one of the places where thousands of butterflies flee from bad weather. The Political Animal website reported that after 2013 and 2014 commercial logging was authorized in an area of the Nevado de Toluca, the lowest level of monarch butterflies that came to hibernate was recorded.

According to the portal two monarch butterfly colonies that arrive at the Nevado de Toluca, they have been detected since 2004 and according to these official reports, in 2012, the area occupied by the monarchs in the Nevado de Toluca covered a total of 1,300 square meters of forest.

Effects of felling

Animal Politico documents the decrease of the monarch population and found that it is directly linked to logging in the area. In the period from December 2013 to January 2014, when the commercial logging of the first 12,428 cubic meters of wood was authorized in the Nevado de Toluca, the hibernation area of monarch butterflies within this nature reserve decreased to reach 200 meters squares (a reduction of 85 percent from one period to another). According to official records, that was the lowest level of monarch butterflies of which one has a notion.

In 2015, the federal government reduced the area of felling compared to the previous year, and only one thousand 908 cubic meters of extracted wood were allowed. In that year, monarch butterfly colonies showed signs of recovery, going from 200 square meters occupied, to 900 square meters, an increase of 77 percent.

In the last season the new federal Government reported that from December 2018 to January 2019, the total population of monarch butterflies showed a recovery of 144 percent, going from 2.4 hectares to 6 hectares, in a single year. This increase coincides with the declaration of eradication of illegal logging in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. by 2018, logging was suspended in the protected area, but in the adjacent forests, it was authorized to cut down 147 thousand cubic meters of wood.

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More than 40% of the Monarch Butterfly that hibernates in Mexico is found in El Rosario

Of all the Monarch Butterfly that arrived at the forests of the country, to Michoacán and the State of Mexico, little more than 40% is concentrated in the El Rosario Sanctuary, which is located in the municipality of Ocampo, they assured in a press conference, Homero Gómez González and the Regional Delegate for Tourism, Georgina Herrera Tello.

This is because this lepidopteran is looking for nearby water and thick forest, and that is what El Rosario has; thanks to the reforestation actions and to which they brought water from a distance of eight kilometers. Also, unlike in past seasons, the Monarch is not found above the sanctuary, but 200 meters from the entrance is a huge colony, which begins to be seen in significant amounts from the parking area, commercial area and much to little distance.

Official data show that the current butterfly population increased 144% last year, so the figure is historical, it had never happened. "We have many people working to take care of it, from guides, and others who are responsible for making recommendations to tourists as they do not touch them, do not step on them, take pictures without flash, do not make noise, they also tell them that you can not take plants of the sanctuary, "said Gómez González. Currently, there are around 174 ejidatarios who are part of the administration of the sanctuary, and the instruction is to care for the monarch.

Homero Gómez González said that from November to date, more than 75,000 tourists have come to El Rosario, and it is expected that at the end of the season they will have 150,000 or more, both international and national. The current number of visitors may have been higher because in two weeks because of the shortage of gasoline, there were many who canceled their visit or postponed, but despite what happened the figures are good, and the population of the butterfly in this place is historic.

Georgina Herrera Tello said that these visits translate into an important economic spill for the eastern region, and added that it has had to do the promotion work by the agency that represents in this part of the state.

Monarch butterflies are back in Mexico

Nestled more than three thousand meters high between mountains covered with oyamel and pine trees in the sanctuary of the Monarch butterfly of the Sierra Chincua, in the east of Michoacán, a corner where nature maintains one of those mysteries of life: migration of the Monarch butterfly.

Guadalupe del Río Pesado, president of Alternare, an organization that works on the conservation of the hibernation area, explains in an interview that the Monarca has become not only a symbol of Michoacán and the State of Mexico but of the entire country.

It is in this wooded area and its surroundings that a series of sanctuaries have been established to guarantee the survival of this species, which because of its great ecological value, but also because of the great work of its communities to keep their forests in good condition. , they have earned the title of World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is made up of more than 16,100 hectares comprising the Michoacan municipalities of Contepec, Senguio, Angangueo, Ocampo, Zitácuaro and Áporo; and Temascaltepec, San Felipe del Progreso, Donato Guerra, and Villa de Allende, in the State of Mexico.

To access the sanctuary you have to climb around one hour 20 minutes or more, it all depends on the visitor. It can be done on foot or on horseback, "but the experience of doing it on foot is very comforting," says Leticia Hernández, a tourist from the State of Mexico, who points out that this is the first time she has made a sighting of this type, but she will repeat it in as much as I can; He says that this natural spectacle is one of the most beautiful and affordable.

Adolfo Ambrosio, guide of the tourist resort Sierra Chincua, explains to Vertigo that the best time to visit the Monarchs is before noon and that the best months for his sighting are February and March, when the temperature increases and they begin a frenetic activity of reproduction and search for food to start their migration north, so they are dispersed and not in cluster as when they arrive in November.

You should go in comfortable clothes and shoes. To enjoy the journey, even more, you can take a thermos or a bottle of water to hydrate yourself. He adds that although it is not forbidden to come up with food, it is important to take care of the forest and keep it clean.

"It is due, although not all times is done, to go up with a guide that explains the cycle and some characteristics of the species since only what is known is taken care of."

For example, he points out, many national and foreign tourists do not know that they are a very special generation known as Methuselah. Born in late summer or early fall, the Methuselah generation is the only one that can make the migration and make a single round trip: they travel around 120 kilometers per day. "As they are diurnal, they shelter at night in places that are safe for them" and make their journey in approximately 33 days.

By the time the winter migration of the next season begins, several generations of summer will have lived and died; and it will be the great-great-grandchildren of last year's migrants who make the trip.

Already in the area of the sighting, Adolfo indicates that it is important to keep silence: 

"Although the butterflies do not listen, they do feel the vibrations of the sound through their antennae, and because they are receptors of many vibrations, they can be stressed".

It is also important not to touch them since the lines seen in their wings constitute their bony system that is very fragile and can be broken with any abrupt touching. Also, be careful with those lying on the floor because "although some look dead are just resting or drinking water in the streams."

The guide with 14 years of experience states that this activity is vital to maintaining the economy in the area. 

"It is a group of 36 ejidatarios; 18 people, among children and relatives of ejidatarios we work as guides; the rest of the community is divided to serve the health area, ticket office, and zip line. The other community work as canteen and artisans. In total we are about 50 families that depend on this activity."

The importance of the courses and workshops offered by institutions such as Conanp, Conafor, as well as WWF Mexico, "to professionalize, take care of them and better serve tourism".

Andrew Rhodes, National Commissioner of Natural Protected Areas, announced that in the current hibernation period in forests of Michoacan and the State of Mexico, 14 colonies were established, with a total occupation of 6.05 hectares, which means an increase of 144% regarding the 2017-2018 monitoring.

This year's monitoring is very positive news when detecting the largest area occupied by the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) from 2006-2007 when the forest area that used this Lepidoptera to hibernate was 6.87 ha. He recalled that in 2013-2014 the lowest occupation (0.67 ha) was registered in the hibernation forests since monitoring began in 1993-1994.

The efforts made by Canada, the United States, and Mexico since February 2014, when it was defined at the North American Leaders Summit to establish a High-Level Group to preserve the migration of the Monarch due to the decline of the population registered in the 2013 -2014 season.

The Trilateral Scientific Committee defined in 2015 that six hectares was the right area to have a viable population of Monarchs in North America.

"However it is important to note that the populations of this butterfly are fluctuating, so you can not lower your guard to address threats such as climate change, land use change, and forest degradation."

This greater density of butterflies is due to the fact that during the past spring the Monarchs that returned to Texas concentrated the laying of the eggs in the center of the state, where pupae and larvae developed favorably, giving rise to the first generation of butterflies from the United States, which in turn found favorable climatic conditions to repopulate all breeding sites in North America.

"In part, it's also the product of work between civil society, scientists and governments developed in recent years."

Jorge Rickards, director of WWF Mexico, pointed out that in the United States the society responds to a call to plant cotton plants, the plants from which monarch larvae feed, "and in Mexico WWF and other organizations work to establish gardens with flowers to feed them with nectar during their trip ".

185 million Monarch butterflies hibernate in Michoacán

More than 212 million monarch butterflies hibernated in the country during the recent season, of which 185 million arrived in Michoacán, reported Roberto Molina Garduño, state president of the National Chamber of the Wood Industry (Canainma).

"It was the best season we have had the last 20 years", said the provider of tourism services, noting that there was a visit to more than 275 thousand people in the sanctuaries that make up the Monarch Biosphere Reserve.

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