Biosphere Reserve

S.O.S monarch

The monarch butterfly has been endangered by man, but there are also legions of people mobilizing in order to learn more about this incredible butterfly and help its preservation. Share this website so that others can know more about this natural wonder and help its preservation too.
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In 2010, The World Wildlife Fund, the world's largest conservation NGO, included the monarch butterfly in its list of species in need of monitoring and protection.

Protecting their habitat protects the butterflies

Men’s action are the greatest threats faced by the monarch.

Endangered grasslands and forests

The monarch butterfly travels all along the North American continent throughout its annual cycle, completing two migrations: the autumnal migration, from the summer habitats in the north of the USA and Canada to the Mexican mountains; and the spring migration, from central Mexico to the north of the continent.

Throughout its journey, the monarch must be able to find suitable conditions to feed and reproduce. They need to find milkweed, the only plant that their larvae can eat, as well as other flowers from which the adults extract the nectar and feed. The progressive industrialization of agriculture, made possible by the extensive use of genetically modified seeds and potent herbicides and pesticides, has depleted the monarch butterflies’ natural habitat along its migratory route. Without milkweed, which used to be abundant in the fields and meadows of the center, north and east of the USA, the monarch can not survive.

 During the winter, monarchs need leafy forests in order to protect themselves from the harsh weather: the wind, the frosts, the rain... The butterfly only forms its colonies in such places where it finds suitable conditions for its own survival. Despite the protection provided by the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, in recent decades, ilegal logging has visibly reduced the forest area, compromising the butterflies’ habitat. A few years ago NASA revealed how significant the loss of forest area in the Reserve is.


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Monarch Watch is a Monarch Net program born thanks to the initiative of a couple of biologists, Fred and Nora Urquhart, who spent decades investigating the monarchs migration and, in 1975, send thousands of volunteers to label butterflies throughout the USA.

How can we help the butterflies?

Thousands of people collaborate to protect and monitor the butterfly's habitat.

This video shows how the butterflies, that will later arrive in Mexico, are labeled.

Tagged butterflies

Thousands of people follow with anticipation the autumnal migration of the monarch butterfly from Canada to Mexico through the USA. Their objective is to collect data about their routes and behavior during the trip, in order to start up effective conservation programs. Schools, nature lovers and NGOs participate every year in the butterfly labeling programs launched by different towns and cities.

The volunteers hunt the butterflies and place a small label on their wing (which does not affect their ability to fly at all). This way, the same butterfly, hunted and set free several times over, will offer very important information about migration. This also allows us to know the origin of many of the butterflies that hibernate in the Mexican forests. There are different programs, coordinated in the Monarch Net network.

In Mexico, you can share sightings and join the the program Se busca monarca driven by CONABIO, CONANP and NaturaLista

Citizen awareness,
orchards and butterfly

There is a growing awareness on the need to protect this brave butterfly on her epic annual trip. Through different programs, thousands of people participate in the existing preservation efforts year after year, starting with schools.

In addition to providing environmental education, in many cities and towns of the US and Mexico people are planting butterfly gardens or pollinators gardens with milkweed and other flowers from which the adult butterflies can feed.

Watch this video to learn how to plant a monarch butterfly garden.

and tourism

Tourism offers the ejidatarios (communal land owners) where the monarch butterfly sanctuaries are located a sustainable alternative livelihood to logging, since it is the ejidatarios themselves who participate in the conservation of the environment.

In Mexico, the National Forestry Commission has launched several programs in order to fight against illegal logging and to help forest owners to make a sustainable use of forest resources.

40 years of the monarch butterfly, 1975-2015
PRONAFOR's Camina de la Mano (Take me by the hand) Program
Why does the Monarch Butterfly settles in Michoacán?

Join us!

Help us preserve the monarch butterfly

If you want to help with the preservation of the monarch butterfly and their habitat you can do it through the existing programs, in Mexico and in the USA.

Federal and state entities, universities and organizations devoted to the protection of the environment join forces to protect the monarch. Programs like Soy Monarca in Mexico and Monarch Joint Venture in the US, promote research, conservation and environmental education initiatives in which they encourage citizens to get involved.

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