::: WWF Project :::
Papalotzin: Journey of the Monarch butterfly

Posted on 30 August 2005    
Monarch butterflies migrate each year from Canada to Mexico.
© WWF / Kevin Schafer
Mexico City, Mexico – WWF is helping to sponsor the tracking by plane of Monarch butterflies from the forests of eastern Canada to the central Mexican mountains. The aim is to raise awareness about the need to better conserve the Monarch's fragile habitats. 

Every year, millions of Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) travel about 4,500km to hibernate from November to March in the pine and oyamel forests located in the Mexican States of Michoacan and Mexico. 

The conservation of the hibernation forest in Mexico is crucial for the butterflies, for other species of flora and fauna, for the communities in the area, and even for the regional, national and international community. Furthermore, these forests supply environmental services like carbon capture, water catchment, and erosion prevention. 
In order to protect the Monarch butterfly, the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve was created in Mexico in 2000 over 56,259ha. The Reserve’s main purpose is conservation and sustainable forest management. 

Since 2003 the WWF-Telcel Alliance has assisted the Regional Monarch Butterfly Forum, an intersectorial coordinating forum, to strengthen the conservation and development actions of the Monarch butterfly. The alliance also assists in monitoring the state of the region´s forest and the butterfly colonies, as well as ecological restoration, tourism management and environmental education projects.

Francisco “Vico” Gutierrez, the director of the Papalotzin project (translated as tiny butterfly in the Nahuatl Indian language of Central Mexico) and pilot of an oversized handglider — decorated as a Monarch butterfly — will accompany the butterflies on their long  journey. During the trip. Vico and his team will film a documentary about the life, flight, and challenges of the Monarch butterfly.
The ultralight plane will start its journey in Montreal and will continue to Toronto. In the following weeks it will fly across the US States of New York, Maryland, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, before moving on to the Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro, and finally to the butterfly sanctuaries in Michoacan. 

During the journey, the Papalotzin team will organize informational events and press conferences with the attendance of local experts and those involved in Monarch Butterfly conservation. At the same time, the team will continuously communicate the journey’s progress through a real-time and interactive website — www.papalotzin.com — and will produce a one hour video, which will include aerial and land views about the life, route, and challenges that the Monarch butterflies face in each county. 
Important Monarch butterfly dates: 
August 20 & 21, Children’s festival at the Botanical Garden, Montreal, Quebec 
August 22, Papalotzin official take-off, Montreal, Quebec 

August 23 & 24, Royal Mint Event / Gatineau Park, Ottawa, Quebec 
August 27, WWF-Canada, Toronto, Ontario 

August 31, Landing event with Mexicans and sacred fire ceremony, Point Pelee, Ontario 
September 1, Butterfly sighting and interviews, Point Pelee, Ontario 
September 5, Visit to the Butterfly House at River Parkway,
Niagara Falls, Ontario 
September 9, Arrival in New York City, New York

September 12, Event at Central Park (to be confirmed), New York City, New York 
September 16, Press conference at WWF-US, Washington DC, Maryland 
September 18, Music Festival at the Zoo, Washington DC, Maryland 
September 25 & 26, Butterfly labeling and activities with Chip Taylor, Lawrence, Kansas 

September 30, Butterfly labeling at the City Zoo, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 

October 12, Buttlerfly sighting at the Maverick, Eagle Pass, Texas 
October 16, Butterfly sighting, Ciudad de Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico 
October 23, Cumbres de Monterrey, Chipinque, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon 
October 24, Interviews with Profauna, Saltillo, Nuevo Leon 

October 26, Meeting with Environment Federal Attorney’s (PROFEPA) staff, Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi 

October 28, Butterfly sighting, Queretaro, Queretaro, Mexico 
November 2, Arrival event and field trip through the communal land areas, Michoacan. Mexico 
November 4, Arrival event and fieldtrip of the hibernation forests, Valle de Bravo, Estado de Mexico 
For further information: 
Jatziri Perez Ojeda
Communication Coordinator
WWF Mexico
Tel: +52 55 52 86 56 31 Ext. 223
E-mail: jperez@wwfmex.org
Monarch butterflies migrate each year from Canada to Mexico.
© WWF / Kevin Schafer Enlarge

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