Volunteers count the monarchs each year at nine sites in the county. The Monarch Program, a research organization based in San Diego that collects the data, says that the numbers were down significantly compared with those recorded last year.
At one site in Big Sur, there was a third fewer butterflies. In Pacific Grove, there were 96 percent fewer butterflies seen this year than in 2008, according to the organization.
Two factors are responsible for sagging numbers of butterflies, Leong said. Fewer are coming to the region, and the local environment is becoming less hospitable to their needs.
Quit attracting tourists and go back to attracting nature. It can fix itself.