One day I really must make the effort to go and see the migration of the Monarch butterflies. It’s one of the natural wonders of the world. It’s also a hell of a long drive to get to their refuge. It is nice to see that their habitat is going to get some increased protection and funds to help manage it though.
President Felipe Calderon unveiled a sweeping plan Sunday to curb logging and protect millions of monarch butterflies that migrate to the mountains of central Mexico each winter, covering trees and bushes and attracting visitors from around the world. Each September, the butterflies begin their 3,400-mile journey from the forests of eastern Canada and parts of the United States to the central Mexican mountains. The voyage is considered an aesthetic and scientific wonder. The butterflies return to the U.S. and Canada in late March, where they breed and cycle through up to five generations before heading back south. Scientists say they are genetically programmed to return to Mexico, where they settle into the same mountains their ancestors inhabited the year before. According to Brower, sometimes they even return to the exact same trees – probably because previous monarchs have marked the area through a mechanism scientists don’t yet understand. The monarchs that spend the winter in Mexico do not reproduce until they return to the U.S. and have a much longer life span than those born in the spring and summer.