No Time to Lose to Help the North American Monarch Butterfly

Washington, D.C. — The monarch butterfly has faced steep declines in recent years and saving the species will require immediate action. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision that protections for the monarch butterfly are warranted but precluded under the Endangered Species Act is a clear signal to the national conservation community, state and federal agencies, and the public of the peril the species is in. Although the federal agency will delay regulations to protect the migratory monarch butterfly for now, the science is clear — the monarch population has fallen so low that delaying action on conservation would be catastrophic. 

“The dangerously low numbers of the monarch butterfly should serve as a wakeup call to the threats that pollinators across our country face. Americans, particularly farmers, have shown how we can conserve and restore the native plants and habitat that monarchs and other pollinators depend upon, but we must do more to ensure this species will endure for future generations,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We are committed to educating and empowering all Americans to conserve the awe-inspiring monarch — and its unique multi-generational migration— regardless of the decision of the Fish and Wildlife Service.” 

“The monarch butterfly and its incredible long-distance migration is one of a kind, and we must treasure it as part of our natural inheritance,” said Rebeca Quiñonez-Piñón, monarch outreach coordinator at the National Wildlife Federation. “The catastrophic declines in monarch butterfly populations, especially in the western United States, show that the species’ very survival depends on immediate action and enhanced protections. To save the monarch, we need to scale up the public and private investment that can protect and restore their native habitat, including breeding grounds, and migratory corridors.” 

Even though the Service will delay finalizing regulations to protect the migratory monarch under the Endangered Species Act, the National Wildlife Federation will continue its monarch conservation efforts, such as the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, Butterfly Heroes, Monarch Heroes, Garden for Wildlife, and Monarch Stewards, to protect and increase monarch populations in the years to come. The organization will continue to work collaboratively with partners from all sectors to contribute to the protection and recovery of the monarch and its native habitat, ensuring the species has more than a fighting chance to rebound.

The monarch is just one of the thousands of imperiled or vulnerable species across the nation. Investment in conservation has enormous rewards, and bills such as the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will help at-risk wildlife – such as the monarch – before they need the costlier and more restrictive measures required by the Endangered Species Act.

Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s work on monarch butterflies



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