40 Years Ago the World 'Discovered' Mexico's Monarch Habitat -- Today Its Survival Is at Stake

January 20, 2015 6:48 PM

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MEXICO CITY -- Forty years ago the winter habitat of the monarch butterfly in Mexico was supposedly discovered. After searching for decades, on January 9, 1975 the Canadian scientist Fred A. Urquhart, an entomologist at the University of Toronto's Scarborough College, received a phone call from an American living in Mexico City named Kenneth Brugger, married at the time to Mexican-born Cathy Aguado (known today as Catalina Trail), who told him that "We have located the colony. We have found them -- millions of monarchs -- in evergreens beside a mountain clearing."

The "discovery" had taken place a week earlier in northern Michoacan, in an oyamel forest on Cerro Pelon, 10,000 feet up in the mountains of Mexico's Transvolcanic Belt, and a few days later the Bruggers happened upon other monarch roosts at El Rosario and Chincua. The Bruggers were volunteer "resea...

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