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An Endangered Royal Flight

Contributed by S. Oberhauser

The Monarch emerges from its jeweled chrysalis
   wings creased and limp
then, empowered by gentle movement,
   it is strong enough to
fly from flower to flower, seeking
   nectar and a mate

Several generations later, at summer's end,
   instinct directs the royal flight south
Over established, yet unknown routes
   until it reaches the Mexican Sierra
Mountain sites, owned by ejidatarios,
   lovingly loaned to the butterflies

In Canada, US, and Mexico, this regal insect
   needs flowers to nectar, milkweed for nurseries,
Oyamel firs for protection and
   respite from northern winters
Its survival is a challenge to scientists,
   government officials, and landowners

Can three countries act as one to save the
   Monarch Butterfly and its wondrous migration?

-- S. Oberhauser
Morelia, Mexico 1997

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