Wintering South of the Border
Many Species Share a Small Area

What We Think
How much land is available in Mexico for millions of winter migrants compared to the land available in their U.S. and Canadian summer breeding grounds?

  • Mexico is much smaller than the huge area in the United States and Canada where these migrating species breed.

  • Mexico covers only 2 million square kilometers. The United States and Canada cover 19 million square kilometers. (In other words, Mexico is almost 10 times smaller than the rest of North America.)

Why Does it Matter?

  • Mexico's warm winter climate and habitat help diverse species survive. Some species stay in Mexico for the entire winter. Other species use Mexico as a place to rest as they migrate across Mexico to Central and South America.

  • These millions of animals must share limited space during the winter months. That means they must compete for food and shelter. So when habitat in Mexico is damaged, individual migrants and species can suffer.

Red = Monarch Butterfly breeding range
Yellow = Monarch Mexican winter sanctuaries

Monarchs Are at Risk!
Monarch butterflies don't winter all over Mexico. They concentrate in a tiny area!

This map illustrates the small area monarch butterflies use for the winter compared to the huge area they use at other times of the year. The overwintering area is 11,000 times smaller than the breeding and migration areas!

How do you think countries should cooperate to conserve this important habitat?

 << Back to Lesson Start (Mexico: Winter Home for Diverse Species)
National Education Standards >>