Perhaps reflecting the winds of the times, the Mexican area occupied by the North American Monarch butterfly –the only known butterfly species that migrates up to 2,800 miles from Canada and the U.S. to Mexico each year–decreased by 27% in the 2016-2017 winter season compared to the previous season, the Carlos Slim Foundation said last week.
Monarch populations are measured by the number of acres of trees occupied by the clustering butterflies, which spend the winter in Mexico. According to the Mexican government, the Monarchs populated 10 acres of forest in the 2016-2017 season, down from 45 acres of land at their peak in 1996. Experts estimate the current Monarch population at 78 million, a dramatic decline from a one time high of 1 billion two decades ago.
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