refutes ADM claims
The Monarch Fields are in fact an important habitat for these threatened butterflies
August 8, 2022
Technoparc Oiseaux has found proof that the Monarch Butterfly – recognized as endangered by both the IUCN and the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada – is indeed reproducing on the federal lands known as the Monarch Fields, near Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau Montreal Airport. Evidence of reproduction was found in the form of eggs and caterpillars between July 29 and August 3, 2022. The most stunning proof of all is a photograph of an adult female Monarch in the process of laying eggs.
An updated count of milkweed plants conducted during this same time reveals that the site contains at least 6300 milkweed plants, some of which are growing again after the recent mowing-down of the field by Montreal Airport Authority (ADM). This is consistent with observations made last summer when evidence of reproduction (chrysalis) and over 4000 Common Milkweed were counted (1000 of which were individually geolocated and photographed). Milkweed is essential to the survival of the Monarch Butterfly, as it is the only plant Monarch caterpillars eat. To date, the Monarch Fields site has the highest documented concentration of milkweed on the island of Montreal.
Technoparc Oiseaux has reported these observations to Montreal Insectarium’s Mission Monarch, which organizes Monarch habitat observations for International Monarch Monitoring Week in Canada, held from July 29 to August 7. Such findings push back on recent claims made by ADM that “There are no ‘monarch fields’ at this particular location” and that “[t]he geographic location of the site, its history, and the low presence of milkweed do not have any critical habitat attributes.”
The organization Technoparc Oiseaux trusts that the public declaration of these findings will not further jeopardize the monarchs’ habitat; the site was mowed down by ADM in late June 2022. Technoparc Oiseaux remains deeply concerned for the integrity of the site in the wake of this mowing, as other flowering plants may not be able to regrow in time to nourish the Monarch butterflies that will embark on their 5000-km migration from Quebec to Mexico in September.
Technoparc Oiseaux continues to call for the protection of the 19-hectare tract known as Monarch Fields and the entirety of the 215-hectare greenspace (including 155 ha of federal land and 60 ha under municipal and private jurisdiction) known as the Technoparc and adjacent federal lands. Such calls have been amplified by a recent petition of over 24,000 signatures and statements made by municipal representatives in Côte Saint-Luc and Dorval to protect the site.
Feature image: Female adult Monarch Butterfly laying an egg, July 29, 2022
Images: © Technoparc Oiseaux
Technoparc Oiseaux is a citizen-mobilization group of over 4800 members working to protect and restore the wetlands, rewilded greenspaces, and natural habitats of the Technoparc and adjacent federal lands.