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Back in 2020, less than 2000 individuals of the Western monarch butterflies were counted and in 2021, 250 000 individuals were found. In 2022 however, volunteers counted 335 479 individual butterflies. This number proves that 2021 success is not just a fluke.
The team surveyed 272 overwintering sites across California during November and December. Of the total 335 479 butterflies, over 130 000 were counted in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties alone. Compared to last year. the San Francisco Bay Area also witnessed a comeback with more than 8000 individuals reported in surrounding counties.
Last year's number is the same as what was counted as normal back between 2000 and 2017.
“We can all celebrate this tally,” says Emma Pelton, a conservation biologist at the Xerces Society which leads the western monarch count to Good News Network. “A second year in a row of relatively good numbers gives us hope.”
In order to keep protecting the butterfly and making sure their habitats long into the future, managing groves where they live and making them more resilient to severe weather is key. Actions towards this can be to replace dead/dying trees, mitigating future flooding as well as planting more native nectar sources.