While our village has become more prosperous, other communities that share Cerro Pelón with the monarchs have not. When we took people up the mountain to see the colonies, we were continually stepping over illegally logged trees on the path. The ongoing devastation of the forest inspired us to start Butterflies and Their People, in order to bring economic development to Cerro Pelón’s neighbors the form of long-term, full-time forest jobs.
The project started with three full-time workers in 2017 and has since expanded to six. The guardians document Cerro Pelon’s flora and fauna, pick up garbage, and make trails safer. Most importantly, their paid presence has helped reduce clandestine logging of the core protected area of Cerro Pelon. All funds raised go directly to paying the guardians’ salaries, while administration, management, reporting, accounting and communications for the project are underwritten by Cerro Pelon Butterfly B&B and the volunteer labor of its proprietors.