In case you missed the reporting in the San Diego Union Tribune, experts are hopeful that our Western Monarch butterfly population may rebound a bit.
According to the recent article by reporters Haven Daley and Olga R. Rodriguez, "an unofficial count by researchers and volunteers shows there are over 50,000 monarchs at overwintering sites," according to Sarina Jepsen, director of Endangered Species at Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Daley and Rodriguez report that "Scientists don't know why the population increased this year, but Jepsen said it is likely a combination of factors, including better conditions on their breeding grounds. "Climatic factors could have influenced the population. We could have gotten an influx of monarchs from the eastern U.S., which occasionally can happen, but it's not know for sure why the population is what is is this year," Jepsen told the reporters.
Drought also is a factor. Western monarchs need nectar sources from which to feed and survive. Drought has hindered the ability of nectar plants to thrive along the butterflies migration patch from Baja California to the the Pacific Northwest.
Currently, there are neither state nor federal legal protections of monarch butterfly habitat. in 2020, they wre denied federal protection, but the insects now are among candidates for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act, according to the article.
San Diego Union Tribune subscribers can read the full article here: