HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The monarch butterfly has become a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) according to a statement released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tuesday.
“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.”
After a thorough review, scientists found that listing the monarch butterfly as an endangered or threatened species is justified but prevented by higher priority actions. Therefore, the monarch butterfly has been assigned to the candidate list and assigning a priority number of eight. which means the magnitude of threats is moderate and imminent.
Over the past 20 years, scientists have noted tremendous declines in North American monarchs. It is estimated that the eastern population fell from about 384 million in 1996 to a low of 14 million in 2013. The population in 2019 was about 60 million. The western population, located in California, saw a more precipitous decline, from about 1.2 million in 1997 to fewer than 30,000 in 2019.
For more information about the Service’s findings on the monarch and tips on how to help conserve monarch butterflies, click here.
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