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  • Elizabeth Donnelly

    To: Journey North
    From: Benigno Salazar, Monarch Butterfly Biological Reserve (RBMM)

    April 2, 1997

    Hello and greetings from the sanctuaries of Michoacan and the REBMM field team.

    The days have been exceptional for the monarch butterfly in the sanctuaries. The behavior and activity of the butterfly is governed by the current temperatures and the weather conditions. There have been consistent rains and strong winds (more than 80 kms. per hour), and sleet and hail in the final days of the winter. After beginning the journey north, the monarchs were forced to regroup in the oyamel fir trees in order to protect themselves and to wait for a southerly wind and warmer temperatures which would help their sexual maturation so that they could begin pairing and mating.

    The butterflies in the Cerro Pelon and Chivati Huacal sanctuaries have finished their remigration northward. Something that is worth mentioning is that those in Chivati Huacal abandoned the sanctuary as early as the last days in December 1996.

    The monarchs in Sierra Chincua and El Rosario have always been the biggest and most stable colonies. They have been located along the northeast portions of the sanctuary and along the steep slopes of the stream beds among the flowering understory and in the oyamels (pines) and oaks.

    On March 22nd, it snowed for two hours in el Rosario, which caused the butterflies to group together in order to protect themselves from the low temperatures.

    Karen Leichtweis
    Lastly, of the 160 million monarchs hibernating here, 90% of them are now in route towards northern Mexico and will soon be in the U.S.

    Benigno Salazar Martinez

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