Nature is full of many mysteries which are really stunning. Some of these mysteries are easy to be solved, while there are others that may need decades or even centuries to be finally solved and understood by scientists and researchers. One of the most amazing places that can be found in nature is what is called the mountain of butterflies. What is the mountain of butterflies? Where can we find it? Why is it given this name? And too many questions that need to be answered. If it is the first time for you to hear about the mountain of butterflies or you know it but do not have any idea about its location and more details, take a look at the interesting facts that are presented to you here to learn more about the mountain of butterflies and its discovery.
♦ What is the mountain of butterflies?
We all love the monarch butterflies but we do not know anything about the place from which they come. To make it easy for you, the mountain of butterflies is associated with those monarch butterflies, their migration and the place where they spend winter before travelling to the United States and Canada.
The mountain of butterflies is not a new mystery or place that has recently appeared in nature. It was in the 1900s when the mountain of butterflies was discovered. Thousands of volunteers and researchers led by Canadian zoologist Fred Urquhart tried for several years to solve this mystery, migration of monarchs, and on January 9, 1975, the search that spanned several decades starting from the 1930s resulted in finally solving this mystery and finding the mountain of butterflies or winter home.
♦ How was the mountain of butterflies discovered & where is it located?
A team of zoologists and naturalists including Fred Urquhart, Norah Roden Urquhart, Catalina Trail and Ken Brugger decided to study the migration of monarch butterflies and after identifying their migration routes, they finally discovered the breathtaking place where those amazing butterflies spend their winter before travelling to other countries such as Canada and the United States. It was really a stunning surprise as in 1975 and after several years of theories about the migration of monarch butterflies, the zoologists and naturalists discovered millions of monarch butterflies covering oyamel trees that can be found in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt pine-oak forests, Mexico where the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is now located.
♦ The mountain of butterflies was known before 1975
It is widely believed that the mountain of butterflies was first found in 1975, but this is not true. The mountain of butterflies was only known to the Mexican locals before being discovered in 1975 but they did not know anything about its importance and role in the migration of monarch butterflies that stay there between October and March until spring arrives and the weather becomes warm.
♦ The butterflies are the souls of ancestors
The arrival of the monarch butterflies at winter home comes in October which is the same time at which the Dia de Los Muertos festival, Day of the Dead festival, takes place. For this reason, the monarch butterfly is associated with this festival and it is believed by the locals to be the soul of dead ancestors who come back every year for visiting them.
♦ Making the trees orange and creating a beautiful sound
The monarch butterflies cluster together in the winter season to keep warm. They cover the pine and oyamel trees to hide the brown and green colors and make the trees orange. In warm temperatures, the monarch butterflies start flying making a beautiful sound which is similar to the sound of light rain and they can block out the light if they are flying in large numbers.
♦ International efforts for protecting the monarchs & habitat
Five years after the discovery of the mountain of butterflies, Jose Lopez Portillo, the Mexican President, designated the winter home of monarch butterflies a national park. In 2008, the area in which the monarchs spend winter was named by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.
There are several problems that threaten the butterflies and their habitat such as using pesticides, illegal logging, rubbish left by tourists, illegal use by farmers for other purposes, extreme changes in climate and more problems that can kill those monarch butterflies or at least reduce their numbers and destroy their habitat to be just a thing of the past.
For this reason, different countries such as Canada and the United States try to protect the monarch butterflies and increase their numbers by planting more milkweed and encouraging the farmers and even citizens to take part in this for saving the monarchs from death and protecting their habitat.