New Year’s Count Finds Continued Decline of Monarchs Overwintering in California

Monitoring revealed an average decrease of 46% between the Thanksgiving and New Year’s counts.

This winter, many waited with bated breath for the results of the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count (WMTC), which occurs annually around the Thanksgiving holiday. In January, after carefully tallying the results of the WMTC, we reported 29,418 monarchs at 240 overwintering sites—less than 1% of the population in the 1980s and nearly identical to last year’s alarming numbers.

Now, the Western Monarch New Year’s Count (WMNYC)—a second count that is in its fourth year—indicates that the population has fallen further. This count—which ran from Saturday, December 28, 2019 to Sunday, January 12, 2020—included 117 of the 240 sites surveyed during the WMTC.

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