My novel, The Monarchs, features an older couple who are very much like the butterflies of the title, flitting in and out of their favourite country, Mexico; disturbed by the cold, Canadian winter, and seeking the warmth of the south.
A great deal of the novel has the couple reflecting on the miracle of the migration and wanting to observe the phenomenon one day.
But truth is always stranger than fiction and the events of my novel may soon be only a memory. Will these beautiful butterflies become extinct?
A recent article in the Toronto Star touches on the fact that “the monarch population has dropped to the lowest level since record-keeping began in 1993.”
Factors affecting the decrease include deforestation of the land to which the monarchs migrate, and the disappearance of milkweed, the butterflies’ only food source.
“After steep and steady declines in the previous three years, the black-and-orange butterflies now cover only 0.67 hectares in the pine and fir forests west of Mexico City” (report by World Wildlife Fund).
Some people do not place the importance of preserving butterflies on the same plateau as preserving certain animals. Having seen the collection of migrated butterflies myself, I certainly do.