For more ideas
visit our 2006-2007
class project page
and small groups
Track the monarchs and
Track the cranes via
via WWF Canada
Please support Operation
World Wildlife Fund Canada
Facts, Conservation and How You Can Help!
- Monarch Butterflies go through four
completely different stages during their lives? (egg,
caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly)
- Monarch caterpillars are strikingly
beautiful? They don’t to need camouflage themselves because the
milkweed they eat makes them poisonous to most potential predators
- Monarch caterpillars grow to 2,000
times their original size between when the hatch and when they enter
- There are two populations of North
American monarchs? (the eastern, that overwinters in Mexico,
and the western, that overwinters in California)
- Each North American monarch population
has its own migratory route?
- Monarchs are the only North American
butterflies that perform two-way migrations, in huge numbers, from
one part of the continent to another?
- Monarchs complete their migrations by
- Monarchs cannot complete a round-trip
migration in one generation?
- Monarchs are capable of making
- Monarchs are found in the Caribbean
Islands, Australia and New Zealand?
no wonder the Monarch Butterfly is the state insect of Alabama, Idaho,
Illinois and Texas and the state butterfly of Minnesota, Vermont and
West Virginia. In 1989, the Monarch Butterfly was nominated as the
national insect of the United States, and the monarch IS the national
insect of Canada!
people living in Mexico also love Monarch Butterflies. For them, the
arrival of eastern monarchs at the overwintering sites near Mexico City
is always a celebrated event!
Researchers estimate that there are several million monarchs in the
western population and up to one hundred million in the eastern
population. These numbers
fluctuate greatly, from year to year, because of poor breeding
conditions, diseases, parasites, and deaths caused by predators and
winter storms. In the past, monarchs have been able to recover but, in
recent years, habitat destruction and pesticide use have been making it
much harder for monarchs to rebound after huge losses.
Dr. Fred Urquart began searching for the monarch overwintering
sites in 1937. In August 1976, he announced to the world that he
had finally found them. The subsequent discovery of the overwintering
sites by other field biologists made it possible to launch several
conservation initiatives aimed at protecting the species.
In 1983, the World
Conservation Union recognized the monarch overwintering sites in Mexico
and California as “threatened.” In
1985, five sanctuaries were established to protect overwintering areas
in Mexico. Unfortunately,
logging continues in and around the sanctuaries.
In 1995, the Canadian
government protected breeding grounds by making Point Pelee, Long Point
and Prince Edward Point in southern Ontario monarch reserves. However,
there are still no specific laws protecting monarchs in the US or the
rest of Canada.
Many scientists now consider the
annual migration of monarchs across North America to be in danger.
HOW YOU CAN HELP!
- Support monarch
conservation in Mexico by contributing to the Monarch Butterfly
Sanctuary Foundation. This non-profit organization was
established in 1997, by concerned scientists and educators, to
protect the overwintering regions from logging and other
- Urge government
officials to create laws to protect monarch habitat where you live.
- Milkweed is the
monarch caterpillar’s only source of food. Plant a garden with
milkweed and nectar-bearing flowers to support monarch butterflies.
Encourage others to do the same. For more information about
monarch-friendly gardens see: