2023 Edition

Julien Faure

Monarch Butterfly Colony, 2022

Michoacan State, Mexico

Category - Into the forest

Monarch Butterfly Colony, 2022

In Mexico, at an altitude of over 3,000 metres, millions of migratory monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) find refuge each winter in the El Rosario forest sanctuary. After a 4,000-kilometre journey from Canada, they reach the Mexican mountains in November, and spend the winter there. Faced with the harsh nighttime temperatures, they huddle together to keep warm. The conifers’ branches bend under their weight and turn orange and black, the characteristic colour of their wings. The butterflies remain in the reserve until the end of March before making the return journey North. Four generations follow one another on this incredible migration. In 2022, the monarch butterfly joined the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Habitat destruction, climate change and pesticide-induced depletion of the milkweed plant, its main food source, are the primary threats to the monarch butterfly’s survival.

18 mm f/2 Lens - 1/160 sec at f/14 ISO 800