Walk Through The Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary With Javier
"Guide in the El Rosario Sanctuary"
When I began
my work nine years ago, it was very difficult as I would never have considered
myself a biologist.
I did not know the first thing about the monarch butterfly except that they
were common to certain trees during the winter months here in Michoacan.
What else was there to know?!
standing near the third colony of butterflies.
Yet I became determined to find out more as I grew to appreciate the beauty
of these creatures. My head was like a tape recorder, trying to acquire
every bit of information from the biologists conducting their research in
the sanctuariess. Soon, this curioustiy passed over on to my youngest son,
Osvold. He always enjoys accompanying me on my tours and someday wants to
work in the Monarch butterfly sanctuaries.
A Typical Season For A Guide Working In El Rosario
The commisario (head of the ejido) pays a salary to the biologists
who come from Morelia and offer guides two-day courses. These courses
are for the benefit of the guides working in El Rosario, the sanctuary
nearest my home. I find it disappointing that this is not mandatory and
that I am the only one who has asked for any additional information. Yet
half of the 42 registered guides do attend regularly.
with his son at the entrance sign to El Rosario Monarch Butterfly
newly paved parking lots
just outside the sanctuary.
A Living As A Guide In The Sanctuaries
During the months of tourism, October through March, the ejido collects
approximately 1,200,000 pesos, know as the "collective salary".
Yet this does not get distributed until April, and even then, most of
this income has already been distributed for reforestation projects, ecology
seminars and other uses. We receive very little of these earnings (like
300 pesos for 8 days' work), therefore we open restaurants and artesian
shops to supplement this income. Many children report to this type of
work after or before school, and sometimes during the weekends as this
is the most popular time for visitors. In March we close the sanctuaries
to the public and beginning in April and May we start reforestation projects,
most of these including planting and maintaining tree farms. It becomes
very difficult for me at this time, as I must also plant and maintain
my crops and the income has now decreased. Due to this situation, it has
been common for me and many of my friends to travel to the city of Toluca
or the capita of Mexico and find employment in construction or lumber
companies. By September, I am finishing with my harvesting and starting
to prepare for the next season in the butterfly sanctuaries.
guides waiting outside
the ticket office for visitors.
group of children who work in their
mother's restaurant just outside of the sanctuary.