The governments of the United States and Canada are not doing enough to protect monarch butterflies, which begin their 5,000-kilometer (3,100-mile) journey to Mexico's forests in the two North American countries, the World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, said.

"The three countries are responsible for the monarch butterfly," WWF Mexico director Omar Vidal told Efe following a press conference held to discuss the situation of the butterflies.

The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which is located in the eastern part of Michoacan state and the western part of Mexico state, lost 2,179 hectares (5,380 acres) of forest in a decade due mainly to illegal logging, Vidal said.

Mexico, Canada and the United States must work to protect the forests used by the butterflies, the WWF official said.

Illegal logging was largely halted in the reserve from 2001 to 2012, Vidal said, citing a WWF study.

Residents of the communities around the reserve, however, increased the cutting of trees for household use and to sell, a problem that had not been previously detected, Vidal said.

Droughts and flooding have also spurred the loss of forests in Michoacan and Mexico state, the WWF official said.

People from neighboring communities were trained as rangers and alternate sources of income were identified for residents, National Protected Natural Areas Commission, or Conanp, head Luis Fueyo said.

Monarch butterflies (danaus plexippus) begin their migration each year in early October, flying from southern Canada across the United States and arriving in their Mexican winter homes around the second week of November.

The butterflies stay in Mexico for about five months, reproducing and then beginning the return trip north in March. EFE