WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today praised the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee’s listing of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve as a World Heritage site on Tuesday, July 8. Sites included on the World Heritage List are recognized by the international community as being among the world’s most significant natural and cultural treasures.
“I am pleased that the World Heritage Committee recognizes the importance of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve,” said Secretary Kempthorne. “Through the hard work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its Wildlife Without Borders- Mexico Program, the United States has helped the Reserve provide refuge for monarch butterflies as they flutter by on their transcontinental migration and I look forward to their continuing that migration for generations to come.
Earlier this week, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded $562,000 in grants to support the conservation of Mexican wildlife species, including monarch butterflies.
The grants, designated by the U.S. Congress for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), are awarded through the Service’s Wildlife Without Borders-Mexico Program. Funding will be used to work with the Government of Mexico in areas of biodiversity conservation and management.
The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, home to millions of butterflies from North America, was created by the Mexican Government in 1996 to protect the wintering habitat of the monarch butterfly. Each spring, the Monarch Butterfly begins an 8-month migration that takes then from Eastern Canada, through the United States, Mexico and finally back. Four generations are born and die during this journey.
UNESCO listed the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve as one of twenty-seven new sites and only one of eight natural properties in the 32nd session.