Monarch butterflies arriving late in Mexico

(Photo by Dorthy Baker, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Association)

MEXICO CITY — Environmentalists and officials in Mexico say they expect this year to see a strong turnout of monarch butterflies, millions of which make the 3,400-mile (5,500-kilometer) migration from the United States and Canada each year to small patches of forest in central Mexico.

The protected wintering grounds have long been threatened by illegal logging, tree diseases, drought and other causes, but officials say the loss is 25% less than last year.

Mexico has clamped down on illegal logging, but officials say personnel guarding the reserve west of Mexico City have reduced under a government austerity program.

Monarchs usually arrive in Mexico by the Nov. 1 Day of the Dead holiday, but have been delayed by late rains this year.

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