Monarch Migration

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    Good news from Mexico,
    on November 16th.
    News: Late Arrival
    Nearly three weeks after the first monarchs reached the overwintering region, people were waiting with concern.

    “There are few Monarchs in El Rosario — only 10 trees at the most. Our impression is that they are arriving slowly and in small numbers,” said

    Then finally, a massive arrival occurred:

    “Yesterday (November 26), there was a very important arrival of Monarchs! Here in Angangueo, I could see large numbers flying at the entrance of the town, indeed heading towards the sanctuaries.”

    An Increase Predicted
    The results of the annual population measurements — taken in late December — are typically released by March. We predict the population will have doubled from last year’s record low, based on this fall’s migration data and from overall impressions during breeding season.




    Also red markers on world map here:

    Monarch butterfly and its surroundings in critical condition: IUCN
    Posted Sunday, 23 November 2014

    Oaxaca, Mexico.-(however).-La reserve of Biosphere of the monarch butterfly in Mexico is under threat, according to the list of 19 sites in State “critical” of the first global assessment on the World Natural Heritage site that was released with the report by the International Union for the conservation of nature (IUCN). The reserve of this species is located to the East of the State of Michoacán in the limits with the western part of the State of Mexico; It covers the municipalities of Villa de Allende, Temascalcingo, San Felipe de el Progreso and Donato Guerra in the State of Mexico, Contepec, followed, Angangueo, Ocampo, Zitacuaro and Aporo Michoacán. In 2013 the space occupied by the monarch to Michoacan dropped by 40 percent.

    Sanctuaries of the monarch are considered to be among the four beauties recognized by the Organization of the United Nations for education, science and culture (Unesco) as world heritage in national soil, however, this region enters list along with other natural places that require a conservation perspective. They are sites around the world that the IUCN considers that they face different potential threats that affect these sites as species invasive or impact of tourism, by making a call to take measures urgently and large scale so as to prevent loss of its value. This Mexican reserve along with the Everglades National Park in the United States and the reserve of the Rio Platano Biosphere in Honduras are the only three places in America that are found in this list, which includes more places like several parks of Republic of the Congo, rainforest of Sumatra in Indonesia and reserves within the African continent. The information submitted by the IUCN says that 21% of natural world heritage sites have a “Good” perspective of conservation, 42% is classified as a “Good with some concern” perspective and 8% of the sites are rated “Critical” situation. Among the various values offered by these sites, is that biodiversity is facing the highest levels of threat. But not all sites that face serious threats are listed in the list of sites in danger, including the biosphere reserve of the monarch in Mexico, which IUCN qualifies as an “outstanding role to protect monarch butterflies during the winter is threatened by deforestation and agricultural activities”. The report shows that 54% of the evaluated sites are well managed, while it expresses serious concerns about the quality of the management of 13%. Effective management is often the key to ensure a good perspective of conservation despite the serious threats faced by the sites. The reserve of the monarch butterfly is where come this species quotas after a journey of more than 4 thousand kilometers from Canada to Mexico. The place is characterized by harboring an ecosystem of forested with FIR vegetation type and where they find shelter millions of specimens of this species belonging to the “royalty”. The butterfly sanctuary covers 70 per cent of the territory of Michoacán and the remaining is soil mexiquense. Places annually receive tourists when they are open to the public in general so they can admire the arrival and stay for almost 4 months of these insects. The habitat of the reserve is characterized by being at 3,000 meters above the sea level, because it is one of the regions of the world that provide special conditions for their life as a cool temperature, clouds and mist and trees that protect them from hail and snow in the winter. The affected area could be translated to the latest results of the Monarch Butterfly: last year lost at least 33 millions of butterflies, so there was minimum because even covered one hectare of forest. According to a report by the worldwide Fund for nature (WWF), the number of monarch butterflies Hibernate reaching Mexico suffered a fall of the 43.7 per cent this year, which is “alarming” for the conservation of this species. The WWF said that despite illegal logging and extreme weather, the loss of milkweed in United States plantations contributed to this drastic drop and this is mainly due to the use of large scale of herbicides. The WWF said that despite illegal logging and extreme weather, the loss of milkweed in United States plantations contributed to this drastic drop and this is mainly due to the use of large scale of herbicides.

    One of these herbicides of name Roundup PowerMAX is an agricultural herbicide product produced by the Monsanto Company, which offers a “powerful” consistent weed control. But in Mexico there is the milkweed, which feed on, in addition to that, not to do so would cause an ecological imbalance in the forests of pines and firs of Michoacán and Mexico State. The monarchs are first set in forests of spruce or FIR, of restricted distribution, protected from wind, on slopes or damp ravines located between 2,400 and 3,600 meters above sea level. Passing months, the colonies gradually move to pine-oak forests, usually less dense. Among the suggestions that emits the same reservation when havens open their doors, which is usually every November 22, is not to leave trash, the rules and not take them alive or dead. Among the local actions undertaken, was the creation of an application which registers citizens of butterfly sightings. The National Commission for the knowledge and use of biodiversity (Conabio) together with the National Commission of natural Areas (Conanp) launched a web application called “Is looking for Monarch” through the naturalistic project that records observations in real time of the butterflies in Mexico during their migratory route.

    Anyone can create an account and add few comments want that it should include a photo, video or sound file, the exact location of the sighting, latitudes and lengths, if there was one or more of them, the exact time, State of development (Caterpillar, pupa and adult) and the activity carried out the insect. Other sites with a perspective evaluated as “Good” include the iconic Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch, the volcanoes National Park in Hawaii and the Namib sand dunes. The great barrier, whose fragile Reef and marine biodiversity ecosystems are at risk, has been valued as a place of “High concern”.

    Monarch butterfly and its environment in critical condition: IUCN



    Sounds like better news from Mexico. This is a very rough translation from the Mexican newspaper, link below:

    The number of Monarch Butterflies arriving in Michoacan may increase this year

    Secretary of Urban Development and Environment of the state, Mauro Ramon Figueroa Ballesteros announced the opening of the sanctuaries to visitors, will be 22 next November

    By: – November 17, 2014

    Morelia, Michoacan ( .- With the care that has been the breeding habitat of the monarch butterfly in the fields of the United States and Canada as a result of the calls that have been made through conferences and forums, the arrival of this 2014 lepidopteran sanctuaries of Michoacan and Mexico State, could be in a larger volume to previous years.

    This estimate is based on the registration of a large number of butterflies from two weeks ago has been found in fir forests where the monarch usually get said Secretary of Urbanism and Environment state Ballesteros Mauro Ramon Figueroa, who announced the opening of the sanctuaries visitors will be given on 22 November.

    He reported on the other side of the building work monitoring and protection of these shrines, among the various agencies involved and local authorities, in order to foster a better stay in Monarch fir forests.

    The state official recently participated in a meeting with senior officials of the Fund and Monarch, Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature and other sponsors of preservation programs where information flattering picture is expected for the next season of arrival was received butterfly.

    Added to this, after the Summit of Leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico, held on 19 and 20 February this year in Mexico City, where, among other things, also the problem of the Monarch butterfly addressed, a high-level working on defining and promoting protection policies lepidopteran settled.

    For today the most important challenge is to keep the migration of the monarch butterfly, state official is to keep the direct relationship with the communities and ejidos to achieve the exploitation of their natural resources without compromising their habitat, so improve economic and social conditions of the inhabitants of the reserve.

    He said that in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve over 100 agricultural groups, 57 ejidos and communities are located 13 and 30 thousand people live directly interact with the butterfly.

    He said that through the work of the various institutions involved, efforts will continue research and analysis to improve knowledge of migration of the Monarch, which serve as input to the President, Enrique Peña Nieto, international agreements their counterparts in the United States and Canada to achieve community development in balance with habitat conservation butterfly.

    Note that in the fall, the monarchs begin their migration journey from southern Canada to pine and fir forests in the states of Mexico and Michoacan, to spend the winter.

    Each year, at the time of migration million Monarch butterflies travel about 5000 miles to spend in Mexico 5 months, ie from November to March, which is when it stays in the 6 shrines there in Michoacan and 4 in Mexico state.



    UPDATE – November 11
    We’re still waiting for the masse arrival, reports Estela Romero. After last week’s initial appearance there’s been no sign of the millions of monarchs expected.
    Caryl PS I have my first chrysalis of the season in Seatoun, Wellington. Others in Wellington?



    November 6
    It’s official! The first colony — containing several thousand monarchs — was discovered on November 2nd. “Faithful to their cultural and ancestral tradition, the monarchs have begun to arrive in their overwintering palace in Mexico by Dia de los Muertos.”



    And evidently there are more Monarchs flying south than they anticipated – that’s great.

    One report I have received is: “Yesterday October 30th between 12:30pm and 3:00pm, we were filming in the sanctuary on Cerro Pelon and noticed hundreds of monarchs flying around the trees! This clip is a collection of shots captured during that period:

    The day before (10/29), we were in Donaciano Ojeda and saw dozens flying South through the community.”

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