Butterflies are fragile, fairy-like creatures. You must admit that this association must have crossed your mind at least once. Researchers bring to our attention that climate change and loss of habitat affects butterflies too, especially monarch butterflies in Mexico.
Monarch butterflies are famous for their tiger-stripe pattern and their annual journey. Massive populations of butterflies can be spotted in the United States and Canada during the warm seasons, but as fall and winter draw in, they start a long, perhaps tiresome, 3,400-mile journey. They migrate from the North of the continent to the South, in places such as Mexico, where they find what they most need in order to survive: warmth.
The monarch butterflies had previously been on the verge of getting extinct, but specially designed programs helped the insects regain their balance. Now they are threatened again, this time by the differences of temperature. Cold spring months damages fir and pine trees in forests which served as natural habitat for monarch butterflies. Reports also show that approximately 6.2 million of them died because of the cold. The alarming number stands for 7.4% of the butterfly population.
In addition to the forest areas damaged by low temperatures, drought also damaged 16 acres of Mexican woods. According to Weather, the director of World Wildlife Fund Mexico, Omar Vidal, declared the following:
“This points up just how fragile these forests are, and how fragile the monarchs are, and it makes clear the importance of reforestation efforts.”
Authorities highlight the fact that forest exploitation has negative effects on the wildlife, causing loss of habitat, and this is the case with monarch butterflies. Large woods are beneficial because, among others, they fight air pollution by releasing oxygen. Massive deforestation seems to point out that people tend to forget these basic things.
According to the same publication, Lincoln Browe, a specialist in monarchs, also commented on the situation of the small insects:
“Never had we observed such a combination of high winds, rain and freezing temperatures.”
The decimation of monarch butterfly population is an extremely bad news, especially because it comes after years of efforts trying to put the insects back on the right track. What’s more, the specialists’ efforts turned out to be successful, as the number of butterflies migrating from the United States to Mexico was larger each year, covering more and more of the Mexican area assigned to them.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia