The number of Monarch butterflies appears to have plummeted this year (Monarch Watch)

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It’s high season for Monarch butterfly viewing in Mexico — the time of year when millions of butterflies arrive at their wintering grounds in the central highlands.

These strong insects migrate upwards of 3,000 miles to their winter habitat in the mountains of the State of México and Michoacán.

They’re here from November through March, so there’s still time to see them this winter. 

Visit the Monarch sanctuaries of Cerro Pelón and Sierra Chincua, it is a totally accessible and family-friendly experience.

The number of Monarch butterflies that have survived the migration to Mexico this fall appears to have plummeted, with early estimates suggesting they covered just one hectare or less of their overwintering grounds — well under half the area they covered last year. 

The figure is based on preliminary estimates from Monarch Watch, an education and research organization operating out of the University of Kansas. Researchers there say this could be the lowest total in a decade and “probably one of the all-time low numbers” for monarchs overwintering in Mexico.

It’s a startling figure, bound to generate headlines — much like last year’s report that the population was up 35 percent compared to 2020-2021

The number of hectares that monarchs cover when overwintering in Mexico is a good proxy for their population size, which is impractical to measure due to the density of monarchs when roosting. 

Residing in and passing through so many different areas each year means there are many opportunities for the population to be driven to declines by suboptimal conditions, but it also gives them many chances to recover. 

Source: Monarch Watch

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