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Climate Change, Deforestation Threaten Monarch Butterfly Migration

WXXI US News - Fri, 02/26/2021 - 4:49am
2020 was a bad year for butterflies, too. The population of monarch butterflies that migrated to Mexico to ride out the cold winter months in the north fell 26% from a year earlier, according to a new report from the Mexican government and the Word Wildlife Fund. Mexico's Commission for Natural Protected Areas said the butterflies' population occupied only 2.10 hectares in 2020, compared to 2.8 hectares a year earlier. And the monarch Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán, Mexico lost trees at a higher rate than it did in 2019. A combination of logging, falling trees, and drought in the areas where the butterflies roost, as well as a reduction of milkweed in their breeding places, pose threats to the monarch's migration. But the damage wrought by climate change is the biggest factor. During the spring and summer of 2020, wild weather in the southern United States killed milkweed blossoms--which female monarch butterflies lay their eggs upon. In turn, the development of butterfly eggs and
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