Google's first doodle of 2016 celebrates monarch butterflies
Hundreds of monarch butterflies line a tree trunk in Mexico Reuters

Google released its first doodle of the year, celebrating the mountain of butterflies. This haven for butterflies was first discovered 41 years ago in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico, by a group of Canadian zoologists.

With the rest of the world occupied with the CES, Google (which chose not to participate in the tech show) released its first doodle on 9 January. The doodle depicted orange and black butterflies, created by artist Kevin Laughlin, which celebrated the "singularly awesome beauty of the monarch butterfly", according to Google Doodle's blog.

The doodle was created to shed light on monarch butterflies and the discovery of their migratory passage to the mountains of Sierra Madre in Mexico. Catalina Trail and Ken Brugger, accompanied by thousands of volunteers, participated in a decade-long search for the monarch butterflies, the blog said.

It went on to say that Trail and Brugger assisted a team of Canadian zoologists, led by Fred Urquhart. The duo tracked the trails left by butterflies that had previously been tagged and analysed their migratory route, to eventually discover the mountain of butterflies. There were, apparently, millions of monarch butterflies clinging to the wintery oyamel trees. Urquhart painted an eloquent picture when he described the scene on his first visit: "They swirled through the air like autumn leaves carpet[ing] the ground in their flaming myriads on the Mexican mountainside."

Since its discovery, the mountain has been named the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, but is fondly known as the mountain of butterflies. In 2008, it was declared a World Heritage Site, reported CNet. The butterflies only migrate to the mountain during the winter, making it their home between the months of October and March every year. The reserve spans 56,000 hectares out of which the monarch butterflies, usually, only occupy 4.7 hectares.

The doodle, however, was only released selectively. It was available only on the Google homepages for the US, Mexico and parts of Europe and South America. It was also released in a few other countries like Iceland, Malaysia, Japan and Kenya.