Introducing Pato Moreno

Letters From The Field Contributor, Ellen Sharp, introduces Mr. Pato Moreno this week.

Shortly after the first monarch butterfly colony was discovered on Cerro Pelon in 1975, a powerbroker lobbied to have men from the village of Macheros hired to protect it. The agency that employed these rangers came to be called the State of Mexico Commission for Natural Parks and Fauna (CEPANAF). In 1986, the Cerro Pelon Sanctuary became part of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, a federal agency. Despite this change, the State of Mexico-employed rangers continued their patrols, and when the first generation of rangers retired in 2014, their sons took over their jobs, including Mr. Pato Moreno.

Apart from his job as a CEPANAF forest ranger, Mr. Moreno is the coordinator of Butterflies & Their People, a non-profit organization that employs guardians from both the Michoacán and State of Mexico portions of the sanctuary. Butterflies & Their People was founded to extend the reach of the forest rangers. The six Butterflies & Their People forest guardians have been collaborating with four CEPANAF rangers on their patrols and projects since 2017. Monarch butterflies rely on intact tracks of high elevation forest, and these workers keep an eye on their colony and work to discourage illegal logging in the protected area. In this slideshow article, Mr. Moreno shows some of the critical work that the rangers and the guardians perform together. 

Mr. Moreno is an excellent photographer and videographer and the key content provider for our virtual tour project. He curated these images of the working life of the CEPANAF rangers and the Butterflies & Their People forest guardians to share with you—we hope you enjoy them.

For more about this history and the lives of Cerro Pelon’s forest protectors, see: “We Were in Love with the Forest”: Protecting Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. By Guest Contributor, Ellen Sharp, On November 12, 2020.

Saludos desde Macheros,


A Slideshow Article: The Work of Forest Rangers and Guardians