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Increasing numbers of monarch butterflies spotted in California

monarch butterfly.JPG
Posted at 4:44 PM, Dec 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-22 22:41:06-05

More than 300,000 monarch butterflies have been counted at overwintering sites in California, according to the Xerces Society's Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count.

The conservation organization says this number of monarch butterflies hasn't been seen since the fall of 2000.

In 2020, only about 2,000 butterflies were counted across the state. This is the second year of increasing numbers.

While the latest report is seen as positive, researchers say the monarch population has declined significantly since the 1980s when monarchs numbered in the low millions.

Butterflies were counted at 183 overwintering sites in California.

According to the Xerces Society's report, the largest individual count of butterflies so far this season was 34,180 at a private site in Santa Barbara County.

Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties have the four largest overwintering sites -- including the Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove -- which host more than 20,000 monarchs each.

The Xerces Society expects to release a final count in late January 2023.

To learn more about the Western Monarch Count, click here.