MONTREAL — Today the David Suzuki Foundation launched the Monarchs in Mexico contest. The winner will receive a 10-day trip for two to Mexico, to explore the winter habitat of the endangered monarch butterfly, with G Adventures.
The trip includes tours of Mexico City and the El Rosario and Sierra Chincua sanctuaries in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The monarch: an endangered icon
The contest is part of the Foundation’s Butterflyway project which is raising awareness about the challenges facing the monarch butterfly, including climate change, habitat loss and pesticide use.
In 2013, the monarch population reached a historic low of 33.5 million. Past annual averages over the last 15 years were 350 million. A 2016 study in Scientific Reports estimates an 11 to 57 per cent probability that the monarch migration could collapse within 20 years.
“The rapid decline of the monarch is an alarming example of human impact on biodiversity,” DSF head of scientific projects in Quebec, Louise Hénault-Ethier, said. “Fortunately, there are solutions to prevent its disappearance. This requires the collaboration of North American governments, scientists, NGOs, and citizens who live along its migration route.”
Widespread use of herbicides in agriculture reduces the number of flowering plants, whose nectar is essential to the adult monarch and other pollinators. Pesticide use is endangering milkweed (Asclepias), the monarch caterpillar’s sole food source and the only plant on which females lay their eggs. Once widespread in agricultural areas, milkweed is being eradicated from cultivated fields and roadsides. It has already diminished by 58 per cent in certain regions of North America.
“Milkweed is at the heart of monarch survival,” Hénault-Ethier said. “Every Quebecer can have a real impact by planting it. The Monarchs in Mexico contest raises awareness of the perils facing this wonderful butterfly and inspires people to join the effort to protect it.”
The Butterflyway Project
DSF’s Butterflyway Project offers a range of ways people across Canada can help protect this iconic species. These include planting milkweed, communicating with policy-makers and participating in an Ambassadors’ program. In 2017, Butterflyway Project participants planted more than 3,500 milkweed plants and 480,000 milkweed seeds in Quebec.
Quebec municipalities can also pledge to become “Monarch-friendly cities.” Montreal, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Saint-Laurent and Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie have made this commitment to date.
The Monarchs in Mexico contest runs from November 1 to 30, 2017. It is open to all Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. The prize is a 10-day trip for two people to Mexico, including return accommodation and flights* to Mexico City from the city nearest the winner’s Canadian address.
The winner will be chosen at random and contacted on December 4, 2017 between 12 and 6 p.m. EST using the information provided on the entry form. The winner will have 24 hours to confirm acceptance of the prize.
For more details, visit www.davidsuzuki.org/mexico.
Thank you to contest partners G Adventures and Aeroplan and Butterflyway Project partners Cascades, Nature’s Way and Espace pour la vie.
*Aeroplan will buy carbon credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions from flights to and from Mexico.
– 30 –
For more information and interview requests, please contact:
Geneviève King Ruel, David Suzuki Foundation | (514) 871-4932, ext. 1464 | email@example.com
Butterflyway Project Partners