PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. (AP) — There is a ray of hope for the vanishing orange-and-black Western monarch butterflies.
The number of creatures wintering along California's central coast is bouncing back after the population reached an all-time low last year. An annual winter count last year by the Xerces Society recorded fewer than 2,000 butterflies, a massive decline from millions in the 1980s.
This year’s three-week count started Saturday. An unofficial count by researchers and volunteers shows there are over 50,000 monarchs at overwintering sites.
Last year, no butterflies arrived at one of the largest roosting sites, the Monarch Grove Sanctuary in the coastal city of Pacific Grove. This year more than 13,000 monarchs have been counted there.