Millions of butterflies make annual migration to Mexico

World Today

At the entrance to the El Rosario butterfly reserve walls are painted to resemble monarch butterfly wings. (Photo: Franc Contreras / CCTV America)
 

Monarch butterflies at El Rosario Despite a decade of environmental problems butterfly numbers are up this year. Tune in tonight for more from Franc Contreras at butterfly sanctuary in western Mexico. In the meantime, here’s some butterfly zen for your afternoon:

Posted by CCTV America on Monday, March 21, 2016

The annual migration of millions of monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico is among nature’s many wonders.

Over the past decade, environmental problems have had an impact, but this year, the butterfly numbers are up.

CCTV’s Franc Contreras reports more from western Mexico.

Millions of butterflies make annual migration to Mexico

The annual migration of millions of monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico is among nature's many wonders. Over the past decade, environmental problems have had an impact, but this year, the butterfly numbers are up. CCTV's Franc Contreras reports more from western Mexico.

A majestic moment in the El Rosario monarch butterfly sanctuary, one of the world’s largest butterfly reserves located in the western Mexican state of Michoacan.

Millions of these winged insects migrate here each year, flying 5,500 kilometers from Canada. In recent years, clear-cutting of forests along their migratory path and the expansion of farmlands have dwindled their numbers.

The monarch butterflies will spend four months here in the lush green mountains of western Mexico, where they will mate and then prepare for their long journey back to Canada.

These lovely orange and black winged creatures remain in Mexico until late March. Tens of thousands of tourists come to visit and admire.

The butterflies land on the green grass, and drink the morning dew before it evaporates.

Deeper into the forest, hundreds of thousands of these delicate creatures form dense bunches as they cling to the fir and pine trees.

Illegal logging in Mexico remains a threat to the butterflies. Local authorities say in 2015, this reserve lost more than 20 acres of forest. To help save the monarch butterflies, conservation efforts in Canada, the United States and Mexico are being stepped up.