After a thorough assessment of the monarch butterfly’s status, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has found that adding the monarch butterfly to the list of threatened and endangered species is warranted but precluded by work on higher-priority listing actions. With this decision, the monarch becomes a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act, and its status will be reviewed each year until it is no longer a candidate.
“We conducted an intensive, thorough review using a rigorous, transparent science-based process and found that the monarch meets listing criteria under the Endangered Species Act. However, before we can propose listing, we must focus resources on our higher-priority listing actions,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. “While this work goes on, we are committed to our ongoing efforts with partners to conserve the monarch and its habitat at the local, regional and national levels. Our conservation goal is to improve monarch populations, and we encourage everyone to join the effort.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a “warranted but precluded” decision, which means the monarch will be considered a candidate species for now. The Service will continue to study the species and review its candidacy for listing on an annual basis. The Service prioritizes work on imperiled species through its National Listing Workplan. Currently, listing actions for 161 species on the workplan (64%) are a higher priority than the monarch. These species include plants, insects, freshwater mussels, fish, birds and mammals.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “America’s farmers welcome the U.S. Fish and Wildlife decision to continue monitoring the health of the monarch butterfly population. Preserving natural surroundings for America’s wildlife has long been a priority for America’s farmers and ranchers. More than 140 million privately owned farm and ranch acres are enrolled in voluntary conservation programs, providing habitats for countless animals and insects, including the monarch. Farm Bureaus across the country have been involved with state and regional planning efforts for the monarch — joining forces with the energy and utility sectors, those who manage natural areas, and our urban hubs across the country – to meet ambitious goals for the species. The warranted but precluded decision will give all stakeholders time to continue conservation and research efforts.”