Our plans for our Mexico trip were to hit the ground running. Although we finally arrived to our hotel in Mexico City around 11pm, the plan was to ignore our jet-lag and leave early the next morning and head for the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries near Zitácuaro. However, we didn’t plan for the masses of morning commuters and were stuck for almost two hours in a slow ebb of traffic.
Since we were fortunate enough to be traveling through Mexico in the winter, one sight that Ced and I didn’t want to miss was the Monarch butterfly winter hibernation areas. Like many other migratory species in North America (ex. my parents), the Monarch butterflies head south to find a mild habitat to roost for the winter. Up in the mountains west of Mexico City at approximately 3200 meters/10,000 feet happens to be a perfect climate for the butterflies.
Although seeing tree branches buckle under the weight of so many butterflies was an amazing experience, one can’t help but feel a twinge of despair when knowing that the migration populations are declining precipitously. Compared to twenty years ago, the current butterfly population has been reduced to a small percentage (a mere 5%) due to stark weather changes and human influences. We heard other people from our lodge discuss how the migratory patterns are changing and that there are significant uncertainties for these butterfly populations in the future. It was weird to think that an insect that I was accustomed to seeing every summer might not be around for future generations to enjoy.