Environment: Protecting a Royal Refuge

Mexico tries to save the monarch butterfly's winter hideout

They begin to arrive a few at a time, bright, familiar butterflies alighting in the upper branches of the gray-green fir trees. But as the month of November wears on, the sky becomes filled with tiny, floating flecks of color. Tens of millions of butterflies descend from the skies, draping entire trees in an astonishing tapestry of black, white and orange.

In one of nature's most impressive pageants, monarch butterflies fly from as far away as Canada to spend the winter in tiny patches of fir forest nestled in the mountains of central Mexico.* Though the butterfly migration has been going...

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