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State park officials see over 14,000 monarch butterflies at Pismo Beach’s Monarch Butterfly Grove

PISMO BEACH, Calif. –  Monarch butterflies are making a big comeback in Pismo Beach after the population dwindled last year.

Monarch butterflies are back in a big way at Pismo Beach.

Tourists and residents alike are flocking to get a peak.

 “We love it, right? We come here every time she comes to spend the night at grandma’s,” said resident Michelle Anderson. “We come out and check out the butterflies.”

Last year, state park officials saw a low population of monarch butterflies at the grove with only 200, but this year is a much different story.

“Here at Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, we already have over 14,000 monarchs in our season which is phenomenal,” said State Park Interpreter Danielle Bronson.

The state park said the monarchs came a little early this time, but they do not mind it.

 “Couldn’t bring much more joy than it is right now,” said Bronson. “They come from the northern United States, west of the Rocky Mountains and travel south, it is just huge territory. There’s a lot of variability that could happen from there to here. It could be climate change, it could be smoke from the fire.”

To get a headcount of the butterflies, state park officials have to get up bright and early.

 “And how many times 10 can fit in this cluster, you have to think of it 3-D,” said Bronson. “Luckily they’re not inside, they’re just kind of a shell on the outside. and you do that twice, take the mean. your partner does the same thing, say it outloud if you are within 20% and that is the count for the cluster and you go to the next.”

In a span of a week, the number of butterflies doubled. They hope for the numbers to increase, as thanksgiving through christmas is the prime time.

 “Last week, we counted 14,000, the week prior, we counted 7,000,” said Bronson. “We are doing another county next week and so it’ll be interesting to see in a two-week pattern whether they have increased by double.”

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Karen Cruz-Orduña

Karen Cruz-Orduña is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Karen, click here.


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