Butterflies on the Brink

Catastrophic storm in Michoacan devastates Monarch Butterfly Population A freak spring storm just struck Michoacan, Mexico leaving a foot of snow & putting the future of the Monarch Butterfly in jeopardy. Can the species survive the snow and cold? Photo courtesy of Homero Gomez Gonzalez, Chairman at the el Rosario Monarch Sanctuary.
You landed on the Vermont Furniture Blog and you may be wondering why it starts with an article about butterflies. My previous post may help: Top 4 Reasons Why a Vermont Furniture Store Wants to Save the Monarchs.

A Freak Spring Storm

Today I was going to write about my trip last week, to see the overwintering grounds for Vermont's Monarch butterflies in Michoacan, Mexico. But first I have to tell you about a catastrophe that's happened. A freak winter storm just struck Michoacan leaving a foot of snow and putting the future of the Monarch Butterfly in jeopardy. ABC News has details on the storm but we will have to wait a couple weeks to really find out how much of the Monarch population will be able to survive this disaster. If you're interested to follow the story, I find one of the best sources for photos and news is the Facebook page for El Rosario, Mexico's largest Monarch sanctuary.

An Incredibly Resilient Species

When my children were little in the mid 1990s we used to find Monarch caterpillars voraciously munching their way through milkweed plants all around our town. Scientists estimate there were about 1 billion Monarchs back then. Last year we found not one single butterfly in the wild and estimates for the entire population were down to around 35 million. The main reasons for that are:

  1. The butterfly's North American summer habitat (the milkweed plant) is being eradicated by the widespread use of Monsanto's Round Up weed killer
  2. The butterfly's winter habitat in Mexico is being destroyed by illegal logging
  3. A handful of freak storms and droughts have nearly wiped out the butterfly

Yet, despite the epic setbacks, the Monarch survives.

The Ultimate Struggle for Survival

Nature is so amazing to watch. I can't help but believe the Monarch is a species that's desperately fighting to live, despite setback after monumental setback. I am in awe. I want to see them succeed. How about you? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
Next post: photos from my trip to the El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Mexico.

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Peggy Farabaugh

She is a CEO who brakes for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels and spent her vacation building furniture for a rural school in Costa Rica. She believes in the future and in the people who will build it. A former distance-learning professor at Tulane University with a master’s in environmental health & safety, she turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a growing, local business. She delivers rainforest statistics at breakneck speed, but knows how to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a newly finished piece of heirloom furniture.

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