Please Explain: Animal Migration

Friday, October 02, 2009

The days are growing shorter and colder, and birds, butterflies, and other animals are starting to head to warmer climates for the winter. These journeys are often thousand of miles—monarch butterflies can fly as far as 3,000 miles to winter in Mexico. On today’s Please Explain, we’ll find out how these animals know when and where to go. We’ll also talk about how climate change is affecting animal migration. We’re joined by Leon Kreitzman, co-author with Russell Foster of Rhythms of Life and Seasons of Life; and Dr. David Wilcove, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, and Director of the Program in Environmental Studies, at Princeton University, and author of No Way Home: The Decline of the World's Great Animal Migrations.


Leon Kreitzman, and Dr. David Wilcove,

Comments [4]

chemmy from new jersey

The Mexicans for centuries have know of the monarch butterflies return and have incorporated this into their spiritual belief system. The butterflies are thought to be the spirits of the dead returning and are a celebrated symbol for their day of the dead holiday.

Oct. 02 2009 01:57 PM
chris from NYC

I understand that the Forests in Canada where the Monarch Butterflies land- are being cut down for wood- paper products--especaily by those who make products such as Kleenex- toilet paper Is there any movement or success in changing this to reserve the forests for the sake of the Monarchs ( not to speak of the obvious other reasons)

Oct. 02 2009 01:46 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Maybe I missed this: does it take as many generations of monarch butterflies to migrate *to* Mexico as to get back to the eastern US? If not, how do they get aloft w/enough fuel for the trip--or do they stop in the same places where their ancestors made their generational stages?

Oct. 02 2009 01:46 PM
Beverly from Somerville

I'm glad Leon mentioned that monarchs are different generations when they "return back" its amazing!

Oct. 02 2009 01:38 PM

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