Monarch Butterfly Being Considered for Endangered Species Protection

Posted on January 3, 2015

Monarch butterflies

The Monarch Butterfly could end up on the list of Endangered Species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has determined that Endangered Species Act protection may be needed in order to protect the iconic butterfly species.

The FSW announced in a release that it will conduct a status review to determine whether listing is warranted. The Center for Biological Diversity says in a statement that the monarchs have declined by 90% in the past twenty years.

Monarchs are known for the lengthy migratory journey between between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The migration takes the butterflies on a 3,000 mile journey. The FSW notes that threats along the migratory path have made this journey more perilous for monarchs. The butterflies also face the increasing loss of milkweed (the sole food source of the monarch caterpillar). Pesticides have also contributed to the decline of the monarch populations.

Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, says in a statement, "The Endangered Species Act is the most powerful tool available to save North America's monarchs, so I'm really happy that these amazing butterflies are a step closer to the protection they so desperately need."

You can find information about how the petition process for the Endangered Species Act works here on the FSW website. It will take at least a year before the Monarch gets protection (or fails to get protection) under the Endangered Species Act.

Photo: Collete Adkins-Giese, Center for Biological Diversit