Monday, March 5, 2018

Monarch Population Numbers Announced

Today the WWF-Mexico and Conanp announced the numbers for the Monarch Butterfly population that overwintered in Mexico.

Monarch Butterfly population 2017-2018, compared to previous years
graph source: WWF-Mexico
The news was not so good.  Nine colonies of Monarch butterflies were found occupying a total of 2.48 hectares of forest.  That is a drop of 14.77% from the previous winter, which covered 2.91 hectares.
closeup of Monarch population the last few winters, in hectares
The drop in population was attributed to the presence of two tropical storms and three hurricanes along the Atlantic coast when Monarch migration began in mid-September.  High temperatures in the midwest and northeast of the United States also caused a late migration, possibly also contributing to the decline in numbers.


Whatever the reason, it is sad news for the Monarchs.


18 comments:

  1. Yes, it is sad. I'm a little surprised. We had a "bumper" population here in Wisconsin in the early summer, but I admit I didn't see as many during the fall migration as I usually see. But, still, from some of the recent tourist reports in Mexico, I kinda thought the numbers would be up--at least a little bit. I planted a little more milkweed, I raise a few, and I'm involved in some monarch conservation groups. Still so much work to do. :(

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    1. I had hopes for a large population this year, since I had seen so many more monarchs in my garden this past summer than ever before. It's hard when weather plays such a big role, too. We do what we can.

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  2. Thats not what I was expecting.
    A shame these little insects are so vulnerable to the weather. You kind of guess it when you see them floating by, but always hope for the best.
    Keep planting that milkweed I guess...

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    1. Yeah, I had seen so many more monarchs this past summer than every before, so I had had high hopes for a large population. Hoping for next year..

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  3. Sad indeed. Hope this downward trend can be reversed.

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    1. I know so many people who are working to help the monarchs. It is hard when unfortunate weather has such an impact.

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  4. Not a good report, alas. The vagaries of weather and habitat. We must continue to bang the drum to increase habitat for this imperiled and beautiful species. Thanks for posting this.

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    1. We must definitely do all we can, as hopefully our help can offset some of the weather calamities.

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  5. Disappointing news. I hope that we'll see the numbers bounce back some by next year.

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    1. I hope so too. I thought we had been making so much progress, as I had been seeing so many more this past year. It's hard when weather can make such an impact.

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  6. That is distressing. Hope the numbers will rebound this coming year.

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    1. Hoping for better weather next year during migration. :(

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  7. At least the population remains greatly increased from 2013-2015. We have had some bad weather the past couple of years with drought and hurricanes. Hoping the weather will be better and the downward trend will reverse.

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    1. That is true, at least the population is not so low as it has been! It is always sad when bad weather wipes out so many monarchs.

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  8. That’s sad to hear. Hopefully the population will rebound by next year.

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    1. We can just keep planting and hope for next year.

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  9. Drat.

    I'll be doing my part and try to plant some native butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) here this spring! :)

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    1. Very nice! I hope it attracts some monarchs!

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