February 15, 2011

Experts Report Positive Monarch Numbers This Year

Experts report a partial recovery in the annual winter migration of Monarch butterflies to Mexico, following a devastating 75 percent fall last year.

The conservation group World Wildlife Fund Mexico says the butterflies from the U.S. and Canada are covering an area of forests that is double that of last year, when their numbers dropped to a historic low.

"Fluctuations in insect populations are normal in nature," the study's sponsors said in a statement, quoted by the Associated Press. "With regard to the monarch butterfly, these fluctuations could be due mainly to climatic conditions," including especially cold or dry years in the United States and Canada, where the butterflies that make the trip are born.

WWF Mexico director Omar Vidal said on Monday that the numbers are still below average, but were encouraging.

"These figures are encouraging, compared to last year, because they show a trend toward recovery," said Vidal, director of the conservation group World Wildlife Fund Mexico, which sponsored the study along with the government Commission on Natural Protected Areas and the cell phone carrier Telcel.

The butterflies have occupied 9.9 acres of colonies so far in the 2010 to 2011 winter season, which is double the 4.7 acres they covered last year.

During the 2008 to 2009 season, the butterflies covered almost 20 acres.


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