Montreal lawyer Anthony Battah is on a 4500-kilometre journey to Mexico to bring attention to the devastating decline of the monarch butterfly.
Thirty-nine-year-old Battah is a ultramarathon runner who began his journey on Saturday, July 29, 2023 he set off from Montreal and is following the winter migration of the monarch butterfly to Mexico where he hopes to arrive on November 1.
During the 90-day journey, Battah is running 50-70-kilometres a day, which is more than a marathon.
Today’s Northumberland caught up with him on County Road 2 just west of Welcome in the Municipality of Port Hope after he stayed the night in the Victoria Park Campground in Cobourg on Monday, August 7, 2023.
Battah’s wife and daughter are bunny hopping in a RV meeting him at each stop along the way.
“We’re doing this to send a huge message to to everyone in this corridor that it’s important to protect the monarch, but more broadly engage dialogue in regards to protecting the environment and our biodiversity.”
Battah said he has something in common with the monarch saying it is the ultimate ultramarathon, “so we definitely have a common link.”
Last year in Montreal the monarch butterfly made the news where a field of milkweed was raised near an airport which was a protected area for monarch’s to breed.
“It just got me thinking. It reminded me of this outstanding migration for the little, little species that is endangered.”
“It needs our help – everybody knows about the monarch and it’s also an international emblem for biodiversity.”
“What better occasion than to attract attention to this crazy project and divert that attention to the broader cause, which is taking care of our planet for the next generation.”
Along County Road 2, Battah listens to music, podcasts and the sound of his feet along the pavement as vehicles pass by.
“We’ve had lots of heat and certainly today is super humid. Hydration is key, but it was definitely part of the plan, but the more I’m getting south to Mexico, I’m going to get more and more of that.”
Depending on how many kilometres he does in a day, Battah is never really sure where they will be stopping overnight, but he said, he and his family were very impressed with Cobourg.
“It was an amazing surprise to arrive and there were lots of people at the beach. I went for a quick swim, it was cold, but it was fun. We rested perfectly.”
Battah said it’s extremely important to protect whatever habitat is left for the monarch and recreate as much as we can by planting milkweed and nectar rich flowers.
“The more you put on your property and in your community, the more the butterflies have a chance to survive.”
In the mid 1990’s it was estimated there were up to one billion monarch’s east of the Rocky Mountains and now it’s estimated there are 200 million which is a drop of approximately 80%.
Battah is trying to raise $4.5 million which represents $1 for every metre he runs towards Mexico with the money going to protect the monarch and biodiversity.
If anyone would like to donate https://ultratrailmonarque.com/