Western monarch population numbers reach new heights

But the butterflies still aren’t close to historic numbers

The western monarch butterfly population, which has had faced population declines in previous years, has reached its highest numbers since 2000. During the annual Thanksgiving Western Monarch Count in California and Arizona in 2022, researchers, with help from the public, recorded 335,000 monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). That number is up dramatically from fewer than 2,000 butterflies counted in 2020. Despite this spike, the monarch population is still down 90% from its historical numbers in the 1980s and early ’90s. “We can all celebrate this tally,” Emma Pelton, a conservation biologist at the Xerces Society and western monarch lead, said in a press release. “A second year in a row of relatively good numbers gives us hope that there is still time to act to save the western migration.”

Read more at Mongabay.

Header Image: Western monarch butterflies are up from fewer than 2,000 individuals in 2020 to 335,000 in 2022. Credit: Lisa Cox/USFWS