Letter From Estela Romero: As Winter Begins, Monarchs Relocate Again


Published: 12/08/2021

Dear friends,

It has been a whole month since the monarch butterflies arrived here in Mexico. The weather has been perfect, sunny days with moderately cold nights. A good rainy season has provided ideal levels of water and humidity in the Oyamel fir forests. The warm winter begins, and the monarchs have relocated in both Sanctuaries. 

Sierra Chincua Sanctuary

In the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary, the colony seems to have expanded several hundred meters downstream towards El Tepozán.  There are even suspicions that the colony could have split in the last two days, but we do not know yet where part of this colony could be located. Cloud cover does not allow for a more accurate location information at this time. 

“This weekend, cold winds are blowing up at the site of La Peña where they had been since their arrival until this past Friday; the nights are now getting noticeably colder and it could even rain at any time, so they could have moved down here to the glen of El Tepozan to protect themselves from this change to later return up as soon as the weather composes itself again. Our winters are warm and short for more than a decade today, so the weather cools briefly coming and going for very short lapses.” 

— Remigio, a young guide whose is part of a Ejidatarios in Sierra Chincua.

El Rosario Sanctuary

In the El Rosario Sanctuary, the colony also moved and is not in a new distributional pattern.  The monarchs look quiet in the cold and silent forest lining the impressive Oyamel fir trees in misty gray and brown colors.

In Sierra Chincua Sanctuary, the location of a possible second colony is unknown. It is a different story in the El Rosario Sanctuary. The local guides speak of three colonies: A smaller portion still at the site Los Orcones where they originally arrived, a second colony at Los Letreros for visitors, and a third colony in Las Balsitas reserved for research. 

“Come and visit our sanctuaries.  The monarchs promise an even better natural spectacle this season; we are looking forward to welcoming our visitors back offering the best of our local gastronomy, stunning natural landscapes, our traditional way of life and short talks about the biology of the monarchs and our efforts for the conservation of their habitat.”

— Maria America, a 15-year-old high school student and granddaughter of an Ejidataria family with great enthusiasm.

Estela Romero

Angangueo, Michoacán, México.


Note to our readers: This article has been edited from the original English version for clarity and readability.

Read the Spanish version of Estela Romero’s letter»