Every year like clockwork, monarch butterflies in Canada pack their bags in September and head to Mexico for their winter break. The annual migration is a huge tourist attraction, and Mexico is working to further support it by expanding their nesting areas and curbing illegal logging in the region. The AP reported:
President Felipe Calderón pledged 4.6 million U.S. dollars toward advertising and equipment for the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which covers a 124,000-acre (50,000-hectare) swathe of trees and mountains that for thousands of years has served as the winter nesting ground to millions of orange-and-black-winged monarch butterflies.
Calderón said the plan would encourage tourism to an impoverished area where illegal logging has been rampant.
The logging has depleted the foliage where insects – a.k.a. butterfly food – reside. Fortunately, a staff of rangers “equipped with assault rifles and body armor,” have been searching for gangs of lumber thieves, and their work has helped decrease logging in the area by 48 percent.
We at IT are glad to hear that tourism was the trigger that inspired Calderón to protect the forests – and the butterflies as a result.