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Western Monarchs

The Xerces Society today announced that only 1,914 monarch butterflies were recorded overwintering on the California coast this year. This critically low number follows two years with fewer than 30,000 butterflies—the previous record lows—indicating that the western monarch butterfly migration is nearing collapse. In only a few decades, a migration of millions has been reduced to less than two thousand butterflies.
Early count numbers from the Xerces Society’s Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count suggest that the western migratory population is at an all-time low. With roughly 25% of the data in, only 1,182 monarchs have been reported. If this early data reflects monitoring at the rest of the sites, we may see fewer than 10,000 monarchs overwintering in California this year.