Ellen Sharp provides an update from Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Mexico. Plus, a reminder to monitor overwintering monarchs in the Southeastern U.S. And Dr. Karen Oberhauser, director of the UW–Madison Arboretum, shares her thoughts on the recent monarch listing decision.
Estela Romero and Ellen Sharp provide updates from monarch sanctuaries in Mexico. Farther north in the US, many monarchs remain on their journey. Out west, Gail Morris reports on the final leg of migration.
Monarch butterflies are vital pollinators that have been dying out due to a loss of habitat and harsh weather conditions. But families, clubs, and other volunteers can bring portions of the habitat back to life with nectar-rich plants like milkweed.
The California overwintering population has been reduced to less than 0.5% of its historical size, and has declined by 86% compared to 2017. Each year, during a three-week period around Thanksgiving, scores of volunteers fan out through coastal California to find and count overwintering monarch butterflies as part of the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count.
You may be noticing more monarch butterflies in your backyard this year than in past years. If so, you’re not alone. Researchers estimate that this year’s monarch population is at the fourth highest level since 1993 — one of the highest of the past 25 years. Some experts anticipate the butterfly’s fall migration currently underway to be the strongest since 2008.