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Monarch Butterflies Face New Threats

August 17, 2010

Conservation groups said on Monday that monarch butterflies are facing a new threat from severe storms that have devastated some sanctuary forests in Mexico.

The Nature Conservancy said during a news conference that storm damage in Mexico’s 32,124-acre monarch reserve has presented another blow to the butterflies, which arrived in Mexico in record low numbers last season after a 2,000-mile journey from Canada.

Omar Vidal, head of World Wildlife Fund Mexico said that 289 acres were damaged this winter because of torrential rains and heavy winds.

“We can say that extreme climate events will be more frequent and more intense,” Juan Bezaury, Mexico representative for The Nature Conservancy, told reporters.

February is typically one of the driest months in Mexico, but days of heavy rain, hail and sleet this year knocked countless butterflies from their perches.

Many scientists say that recent extreme weather events caused by climate change are to blame.

Mexico is hosting the next round of United Nations climate talks in Cancun late November, and the country has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 50 million tons in 2012.

The country says sustainable forestry and reforestation will play a big role in reducing carbon emissions.

Image Caption: The distinctive black and orange pattern on a monarch’s wings makes the insect stand out in just about any habitat type. Photo © Kristin Bradley/Flickr CC/Nature Conservancy

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