The monarch butterfly carries out an amazing migration covering several generations, many months, and thousands of miles; this animation shows just the northward leg.
However, recent logging in the butterfly’s winter home in the central highlands of Mexico, and adoption of herbicide-resistant corn in its northern range, have threatened the monarch. Populations have plummeted by 90% in recent years, and there are serious moves to add the butterfly to the endangered species list.
Conservationists seek to restore the butterfly through protecting its winter oyamel fir forest habitat, promoting milkweed plantings along its migration route, and in spurring farmers to set aside lands in the Corn Belt.
Note: We are very grateful to Elizabeth Howard for sharing these migration data, part of an amazing citizen science campaign at Journey North.
Howard, Elizabeth. 2015. Founder and Director, Journey North. Personal communications, 2010-2015.
Journey North. 2014. Past Seasons: Maps and Sightings, 2000-2014. https://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/archives.html (Accessed June 10, 2014).
Urquhart, Fred. 1976. “Found at Last: The Monarch’s Winter Home”. National Geographic, August.