IUCN Endangered Listing of Migratory Monarch Butterfly a Warning Call for Species

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The International Union of Conservation of Nature’s addition of the migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) to the Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM is further validation that this imperiled species is in desperate need of protection and recovery.

“There’s still so much to learn about monarch migration population dynamics to better understand how and why we are seeing these troubling statistics,” said Dr. Rebeca Quiñonez-Piñón, chief monarch recovery strategist for the National Wildlife Federation. “However, we know that habitat deterioration, together with extreme weather events, threatens the migratory monarch. This is as clear as it gets that the migratory monarch butterflies are in danger and need the full support of federal and private investment. We cannot overlook the warnings anymore and need to act to pass meaningful legislation and work to retain and restore habitat that is crucial to all pollinators and other native wildlife.”

Migratory monarch butterflies have long been plagued by habitat destruction and fragmentation affecting their breeding grounds, migratory stopover habitats, and overwintering areas. This is exacerbated by the impacts of climate change and invasive tropical milkweed.

Legislation such as the Monarch Action, Recovery, and Conservation of Habitat Act of 2021 (Monarch Act 2021) and the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is imperative to making sure we increase resources needed to protect this iconic species and ensure future populations of pollinators thrive.

People can help the migratory monarch butterfly by:

  • Gardening for wildlife by planting native milkweed and native nectar plants that will support monarch caterpillars and monarch adults, respectively.
  • Encouraging western and eastern local leaders to join the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge.
  • Engaging in community conservation actions such as native habitat restoration, education and outreach and local policy changes to benefit monarch butterflies.
  • Enrolling in monarch conservation, community-based science opportunities in local communities.


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