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Mexico Has Plan to Save Butterflies

November 29, 2001|Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Calling the monarch butterfly "the heritage of humanity," President Vicente Fox announced a program Wednesday to protect the forests that serve as winter havens to more than 100 million butterflies that migrate to Mexico from Canada and the United States.

Through the Monarch Trust, a $6.1-million fund created by the government and several private foundations, Mexico will pay local residents to stop cutting trees and to preserve and grow additional forests.

"With this program, there will no longer be any justification for cutting down one single tree that serves as a refuge for the butterflies," Fox said in announcing the program.

Each year, 100 million to 140 million of the monarch butterflies complete a journey of as many as 3,000 miles from the United States and Canada to five different sanctuaries in the fir forests of the central states of Mexico and Michoacan.

In recent years, more than 40% of the forests in the area have been lost to illegal cutting.

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