Today’s Solutions: December 04, 2021

As a result of global warming, habitat loss, and food scarcity, the wintering population of the orange and black Western monarch butterfly along California’s central coast declined considerably in 2020. Conservationists recorded about 2,000 individuals, a number that pales in comparison to the tens of thousands tallied in the previous years.

While this year’s count started last week and will last for three weeks, optimistic news about the species’ condition is already here. Since the count started last Saturday, an unofficial count by researchers and volunteers shows there are more than 50,000 monarchs at overwintering sites, Sarina Jepsen, director of endangered species at the Xerces Society tells The Washington Post.

“This is certainly not a recovery, but we’re really optimistic and just really glad that there are monarchs here and that gives us a bit of time to work toward recovery of the Western monarch migration,” says Jepsen.

Western monarch butterflies make their way from the Pacific Northwest to California each winter, returning to the same forested groves and even the same trees every year. They generally arrive in California at the beginning of November and then spread across the country when the weather gets warmers in March.

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