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Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Update: URGENT


More Liana

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As many of you already know, the Central Highlands of Mexico have just suffered through a disastrous week of rains, hail, and wind. The most-affected states are Michoacán and the State of Mexico, plus parts of the Distrito Federal.

Eastern Michoacán has been devastated. The town of Angangueo, the jumping-off place for many tours of the monarch butterfly sanctuaries, is destroyed. The main plaza is gone, streets are in ruins, huge trees and walls fell in the storms, homes were destroyed, many people died and more are missing, and rebuilding will take months if not years.

The town of El Rosario, where one of the main sanctuaries is located, has been asked to evacuate and residents are fleeing in whatever ways possible. Rescue crews initially refused to go to El Rosario because of the extreme danger of mud and rock slides; several of the surrounding mountains have huge cracks and more devastation is expected.

The town of Zitácuaro has also been seriously affected.

For those of you who read Spanish, here are some stories from this morning's La Voz de Michoacán. There are photos, which of course need no translation, on that website as well.

http://www.vozdemichoacan.com.mx/...egional/G004991.html

If you have imminent plans to visit the monarch sanctuaries this season, it would be wise to make certain before you go that they are open to receive tourists. Due to the extreme need for relief for the human residents of nearby towns, nothing has yet been in the media about the conditions of the butterfly reserves. Please, for your own safety, don't go until you know that all is well.

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Guest shelley

As many of you already know, the Central Highlands of Mexico have just suffered through a disastrous week of rains, hail, and wind. The most-affected states are Michoacán and the State of Mexico, plus parts of the Distrito Federal.

Thanks for the update. The link does not work - maybe they removed the webpage already?

Could most of the monarchs have survived with all that rain?

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That link works! How terrible for them

For those of you that can't read the web page-you are missing out. Google now automatically will translate web pages from spanish to english automatically - so you can easily read web pages like the above. You will need a google login - and then http://www.google.com.au/preferences?

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Thank you so much for correcting the link. The link I originally posted went, in theory, directly to the article--only as we all found out, it didn't. I appreciate that you took the time to correct it.

The death toll went up to 19 today. The latest victim located was a two-year-old boy. Today's paper reported that 50% of Angangueo is buried under mud--whole houses buried, streets destroyed, water still coursing through the town. There is still no word on the status of the butterfly sanctuaries, but the paper reported that simply going to the TOWN is a major risk. I suspect all trips are off for the duration.

What a shame, what a shame.

Ericurmudgeon, please post back to let us know what your tour operator says.

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As many of you already know, the Central Highlands of Mexico have just suffered through a disastrous week of rains, hail, and wind. The most-affected states are Michoacán and the State of Mexico, plus parts of the Distrito Federal.

Eastern Michoacán has been devastated. The town of Angangueo, the jumping-off place for many tours of the monarch butterfly sanctuaries, is destroyed. The main plaza is gone, streets are in ruins, huge trees and walls fell in the storms, homes were destroyed, many people died and more are missing, and rebuilding will take months if not years.

The town of El Rosario, where one of the main sanctuaries is located, has been asked to evacuate and residents are fleeing in whatever ways possible. Rescue crews initially refused to go to El Rosario because of the extreme danger of mud and rock slides; several of the surrounding mountains have huge cracks and more devastation is expected.

The town of Zitácuaro has also been seriously affected.

For those of you who read Spanish, here are some stories from this morning's La Voz de Michoacán. There are photos, which of course need no translation, on that website as well.

http://www.vozdemichoacan.com.mx/...egional/G004991.html

If you have imminent plans to visit the monarch sanctuaries this season, it would be wise to make certain before you go that they are open to receive tourists. Due to the extreme need for relief for the human residents of nearby towns, nothing has yet been in the media about the conditions of the butterfly reserves. Please, for your own safety, don't go until you know that all is well.

I have a three day tour with Charter Club going to Morelia and to view the Monarchs Feb 15th -17th. They are still going as far as I know. Should I be questioning the wisdom of going and should they be taking tours to this area? Thanks

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Guest shelley

I have a three day tour with Charter Club going to Morelia and to view the Monarchs Feb 15th -17th. They are still going as far as I know. Should I be questioning the wisdom of going and should they be taking tours to this area? Thanks

I would go over and talk to them - they may not be aware of the problem. They do have internet access - so just print off a copy of the newspaper report included in the link above - first do a right click with your mouse on the link to display in a new window - so that the url shows - so that they too can pull up the article.

I fail to see how it could not have been very devasting to the Monarch Santuaries in that area. And in the mentioned areas, the emphasis is going to be on the people, their homes and the town infrastructure and how that can be helped - reenabling tourism is probably not at the top of their list at this moment in time - and the 15th is only a few days away.

Or maybe the tour is going to a different area.

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Thank you so much for correcting the link. The link I originally posted went, in theory, directly to the article--only as we all found out, it didn't. I appreciate that you took the time to correct it.

The death toll went up to 19 today. The latest victim located was a two-year-old boy. Today's paper reported that 50% of Angangueo is buried under mud--whole houses buried, streets destroyed, water still coursing through the town. There is still no word on the status of the butterfly sanctuaries, but the paper reported that simply going to the TOWN is a major risk. I suspect all trips are off for the duration.

What a shame, what a shame.

Ericurmudgeon, please post back to let us know what your tour operator says.

-

What a shame indeed.

Besides the Mayan monuments, The Monarch butterflies sanctuaries are certainly the most memorable sites in Mexico. The numbers were down before this disaster.

Here is a link to a happier sight (slide show of the area) few years back.

http://community.webshots.com/slideshow/557554251BiKtIT?mediaPosition=1

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I would go over and talk to them - they may not be aware of the problem. They do have internet access - so just print off a copy of the newspaper report included in the link above - first do a right click with your mouse on the link to display in a new window - so that the url shows - so that they too can pull up the article.

I fail to see how it could not have been very devasting to the Monarch Santuaries in that area. And in the mentioned areas, the emphasis is going to be on the people, their homes and the town infrastructure and how that can be helped - reenabling tourism is probably not at the top of their list at this moment in time - and the 15th is only a few days away.

Or maybe the tour is going to a different area.

La Voz de Michoacán reports this morning that the entire town of Angangueo has been evacuated. The latest update on the dead is 22, with many still missing, buried under the debris of ruined houses. The town of El Rosario, closest to the monarch sanctuaries, was evacuated during the weekend. In Angangueo alone, more than 3,000 homes have been destroyed, in addition to the previously mentioned damages. I suspect that it would be foolhardy to try to go to the reserves during this extremely risky time. If your tour is still planning to go, I would ask for a refund and go at another, less dangerous, time.

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Just back from Charter Club Tours re: the 2/15-17 trip to Morelia and the Monarchs.

When we asked the man about the trip, he said that the flooding was in Angangueo and that the tour would go to El Rosario. We mentioned that we had read (here on the webboard) that El Rosario was also affected. A woman in the back of the office came forward and said they would call their local tour operator in that area later today or tomorrow for information.

We plan to go back to Charter Club tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday morning for an update.

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Last weekend on PBS- Nature had a 1 hour special on the Migration of the Monarchs. They visited the towns closest to the sites- Naturalists and scientists are very worried that deforestation- cutting of the trees- by local Indians for firewood to sell, has resulted in adverse Climate Change (cold) that has descemated the population of butterflies by millions- as it is only this group of butterflies born in Mexico that continues the species. Another example, where harvesting of trees by indiginous people results in horrible events for the people themselves.

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Last weekend on PBS- Nature had a 1 hour special on the Migration of the Monarchs. They visited the towns closest to the sites- Naturalists and scientists are very worried that deforestation- cutting of the trees- by local Indians for firewood to sell, has resulted in adverse Climate Change (cold) that has descemated the population of butterflies by millions- as it is only this group of butterflies born in Mexico that continues the species. Another example, where harvesting of trees by indiginous people results in horrible events for the people themselves.

Privado, if this is truly the PBS position, it made a gross over-generalization. Of course, the program only had an hour, so over-simplification of the situation would be the name of the game. There are no black and white rights and wrongs here.

Bisbee Gal, please let us know what you find out. IMHO, it would be foolhardy to risk a trip to El Rosario right now--even professional rescue workers refused to go there, and the entire town has been evacuated!

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I just returned from Charter Club. Mentioned my understanding that the area had been severely impacted by the recent storms and that I wanted to cancel my trip. I also mentioned my concern with the rain forecast for the coming week. The fellow I spoke to seemed quite surprised at both my understanding of the situation and at my desire to cancel. He was however both helpful and friendly. My sense of the reply was that they were not worried about the weather/status and that in fact the trip was overbooked. They reportedly check with their people at the site regularly and seemingly everything is good to go. They refunded my money but did make the point that this was done so only because my hotel room had not yet been paid for.(Don't quite understand that but that is what the fellow said) Under normal circumstances they do not offer refunds. I will be interested to hear about the trip assuming it goes ahead. Hopefully everyone will come back and tell us we missed the trip of a lifetime. There is however always next year. Hope this helps.

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From The Thorntree messsage baord

News Sources for Monarch Butterfly Reserves

Here are a couple of reliable sources of information on the Monarch butterfly situation that are updated frequently:

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/News.html

http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/tx-butterfly.html

Below I have copied part of a message from the latter source from yesterday.

Excerpts:

"The Ejidatarios from Cerro Prieto who own and run the the monarchs

overwintering sites at Chincua are all doing well and so are the Butterflies,

Chincua will be Open to the public on Monday."

"I spoke to Carmelo this morning he is the Comisariado at Chincua he

said that all is going well and that the Army is also working at El Rosario

that heavy equipment to fix the road is coming in at this very moment,

they plan on reopening El Rosario at the end of next week if the road is

fixed."

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From The Thorntree messsage baord

News Sources for Monarch Butterfly Reserves

Here are a couple of reliable sources of information on the Monarch butterfly situation that are updated frequently:

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/News.html

http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/tx-butterfly.html

Below I have copied part of a message from the latter source from yesterday.

Excerpts:

"The Ejidatarios from Cerro Prieto who own and run the the monarchs

overwintering sites at Chincua are all doing well and so are the Butterflies,

Chincua will be Open to the public on Monday."

"I spoke to Carmelo this morning he is the Comisariado at Chincua he

said that all is going well and that the Army is also working at El Rosario

that heavy equipment to fix the road is coming in at this very moment,

they plan on reopening El Rosario at the end of next week if the road is

fixed."

Sparks, in the first link I found no mention of the disaster in the area of the monarch reserves. The second link sounded hopeful but uncertain about the condition of the sanctuaries.

Today's La Voz de Michoacán said that NO OUTSIDERS are being allowed into the area of either Angangueo or El Rosario.

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Is there an official trustworthy organization that is accepting donations of money, food, water, BLANKETS AND WARM CLOTHING etc. ????????

Hope people don't take this wrong but my experience in Mexico is ... that's a rare thing you are looking for. Other than a local (to that area) Cruz Roja?

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Sparks, in the first link I found no mention of the disaster in the area of the monarch reserves. The second link sounded hopeful but uncertain about the condition of the sanctuaries.

Today's La Voz de Michoacán said that NO OUTSIDERS are being allowed into the area of either Angangueo or El Rosario.

I saw the same ... just copied that post. I'm sure they are hopeful but I would avoid the whole area myself

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Is there an official trustworthy organization that is accepting donations of money, food, water, BLANKETS AND WARM CLOTHING etc. ????????

Here in Morelia, the DIF offices are accepting donations. Please check with your local DIF office, or with the Cruz Roja. As someone in Angangueo said, "We have the same kind of need that Haiti does."

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Guest shelley

Here in Morelia, the DIF offices are accepting donations. Please check with your local DIF office, or with the Cruz Roja. As someone in Angangueo said, "We have the same kind of need that Haiti does."

Really appreciate all your ongoing updates! Please keep them up.

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Really appreciate all your ongoing updates! Please keep them up.

La Voz de Michoacán has not yet published information about the monarch sanctuaries. I am trying to find current information as to conditions there.

The human death toll in the area is currently 27, with 85 people missing and presumed dead.

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La Voz de Michoacán has not yet published information about the monarch sanctuaries. I am trying to find current information as to conditions there.

The human death toll in the area is currently 27, with 85 people missing and presumed dead.

Thank you More Liana for the updates re: the sanctuaries.

The loss of life is indeed staggering and sad. I have been told that many of the local residents benefit economically from the sanctuaries, so having them re-open is something that will help them recover from this act of nature.

Here is the most recent excerpt from a posting on the butterflydigest website.

Subject: Re: Which Monarch sanctuaries are open now in MX

The Chincua sanctuary is supposed to be open now

and the El Rosario sanctuary is supposed to open

Monday, Feb 15. if the road is repaired by then.

The Cerro Pelon colony is reached by a long horseback

ride starting from the base of the mountain so my guess

is that it is open.

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Carlos from Charter Club Tours just phoned us.

They are moving the trip from 2/15-17 to the following week, 2/22-24.

He said they made this decision based on their conversations with locals in the monarch sanctuaries area. Travel conditions there remain poor, but improving. The weather forecast for this coming week includes more rain, which may slow the rebuilding efforts.

We appreciate this decision on the part of Charter Club and feel confident they are on top of things and looking out for their customers.

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Thank you More Liana for the updates re: the sanctuaries.

The loss of life is indeed staggering and sad. I have been told that many of the local residents benefit economically from the sanctuaries, so having them re-open is something that will help them recover from this act of nature.

Here is the most recent excerpt from a posting on the butterflydigest website.

Subject: Re: Which Monarch sanctuaries are open now in MX

The Chincua sanctuary is supposed to be open now

and the El Rosario sanctuary is supposed to open

Monday, Feb 15. if the road is repaired by then.

The Cerro Pelon colony is reached by a long horseback

ride starting from the base of the mountain so my guess

is that it is open.

It's good to read this information, Bisbee Gal.

However, please be advised that the Michoacán weather forecast is looking at Frente Frío #30 (Cold Front #30), set to pound Michoacán starting on Wednesday or Thursday. Meteorologists in Miami, Florida, are calling this next cold front "a storm of historic proportions". As if the last one weren't enough... *sigh*

More as I know more.

ETA: Cross-post with Bisbee Gal's Charter Club Tours update. Thanks!

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