Friday, November 13, 2015

Monarch butterflies expected to rebound this winter, Mexican environment secretary says

Monarch butterflies, which migrate to Mexico each winter, are expected to make a big recovery following coordinated efforts by Canada, Mexico and the U.S., Noe Torres reports for Reuters. Mexican Environment Secretary Rafael Pacchiano told reporters on Thursday, "We are calculating that three to four times more butterflies will arrive compared to last year." The butterflies numbered 56.6 million last year. The current season started earlier this month when butterflies arrived to central Mexico from eastern and central U.S. and Canada.

Insecticides and illegal logging in designated habitats are largely blamed for destroying milkweed plants, which are the main source of food for the butterflies, and Monarch numbers fell 90 percent in recent years after reaching 1 billion in 1996. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in February started a conservation fund for the butterfly and in September announced the first round of grants totaling $3.3 million from the fund.

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