The forested mountains of Michoacan in central western Mexico attract millions of migrating monarch butterflies around this time of year. But it’s not as easy as it may seem for this beautifully colored species of milkweed butterflies.
Millions of monarch butterflies are arriving at a butterfly sanctuary in the central Mexican state of Michoacan - an annual spectacle that draws tourists, scientists and locals alike.
The monarch butterflies flee the cold winters of Canada and northern United States and travel thousands of miles to hibernate and reproduce in the temperate woods of central Mexico.
[Felipe Martinez, Biologist, Sub Director of Reservations]:
"At this point, the monarch butterflies are arriving to their areas of hibernation in Mexico. The butterflies will now be in Mexico for the next five months, starting November 2010 until March 2011, when the autumn migration begins to their feeding grounds and areas of reproduction in the United States and Canada."
Nevertheless, the fabled monarch butterflies this year faced new threat from severe storms that devastated some sanctuary forests in Mexico.
The Nature Conservancy said that storm damage in Mexico's 32,000 acre monarch reserve deals yet another blow to the fragile species.I
llegal logging has also been a long-standing threat to butterflies in western Mexico.
But the 289 acres damaged this winter were due instead to torrential rains and heavy winds, according to the World Wildlife Fund Mexico.
[Sergio Tellez, Reserve Worker]:
"Millions of butterflies have arrived, I'm talking about some 300 trees, I'm talking about the tree being full from the base to the branches. The trees that only have a root or just a trunk, we don't count. So we are still expecting 15 more days of the butterflies' arrival to the mountains, here in the El Rosario park."