Loggers in Mexico may have deliberately wiped out 22 million Monarch butterflies in order to regain the use of forest land that has been set aside for a protected butterfly habitat. Monarchs migrate each year to the same area of Mexico, 70 miles west of Mexico City, from Canada and the U.S.They have been making this 3,000 mile journey for over 10,000 years.

For 5 months every year, the trees in this 216 square mile area are festooned with the orange and black butterflies. Environmentalist Homero Aridjis reported that this year loggers sprayed pesticide on them in order to regain control over the land.

Last November, former President Ernesto Zedillo extended the butterfly habitat, after discovering that it had been reduced by 44 percent since 1971, due to illegal logging. The U.S.-based Packard Foundation donated more than 5 million dollars to the Worldwide Fund for Nature to help compensatethe loggers for lost income. This did not appear to matter to them.

Government inspector Joel Rodriguez said he hadn’t heard about the pesticide spraying and that the die-off of butterflies “could also be a result of the freezing this winter, which happens every four or five years.”

We may have to face a spring with no Monarch butterflies this year. That will be a tragedy for those of us who look forward to seeing them every year.

To find out more about the world of butterflies, visit the Butterfly Site.

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