Leading Scientists, Over 200 Groups and Companies Call for Monarch Protection

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FA note:  Listing the Monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act would have a significant impact over much of the United States, especially considering their fall migration pattern. 
Monarch Butterfly Fall Migration Patterns. Base map source: USGS National Atlas.

Monarch But­ter­fly Fall Migra­tion Pat­terns. Base map source: USGS Nation­al Atlas.

Broad Coali­tion Sup­ports Peti­tion to Pro­tect Monarch But­ter­flies as Threat­ened under Endan­gered Species Act

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WASHINGTON—(ENEWSPF)–November 13, 2014. In the face of stag­ger­ing declines of mon­archs, more than 40 lead­ing monarch sci­en­tists and ecol­o­gists and more than 200 orga­ni­za­tions and busi­ness­es today urged Sec­re­tary of the Inte­ri­or Sal­ly Jew­ell to pro­tect these but­ter­flies under the Endan­gered Species Act. Today’s let­ters come in sup­port of a for­mal peti­tion to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice seek­ing fed­er­al pro­tec­tion for mon­archs. The peti­tion was filed in August by the Cen­ter for Bio­log­i­cal Diver­si­ty, Cen­ter for Food Safe­ty, The Xerces Soci­ety for Inver­te­brate Con­ser­va­tion, and renowned monarch sci­en­tist Dr. Lin­coln Brow­er.

The North Amer­i­can monarch but­ter­fly pop­u­la­tion has declined by 90 per­cent in the past 20 years, drop­ping from a high of approx­i­mate­ly 1 bil­lion in the mid-1990s to few­er than 35 mil­lion but­ter­flies last win­ter – the low­est num­ber ever record­ed. The dra­mat­ic decline is being dri­ven by the loss of milk­weed plants – the monarch caterpillar’s only food – caused by increased her­bi­cide use result­ing from the wide­spread plant­i­ng of genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered crops in the Mid­west, where most mon­archs are born.

The exten­sive use of the her­bi­cide glyphosate on genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered crops has all but wiped out milk­weed in cru­cial monarch breed­ing areas. If we have any hope of sav­ing mon­archs, our agri­cul­tur­al prac­tices must be at the fore­front of the con­ver­sa­tion,” said Laris­sa Walk­er, pol­li­na­tor pro­gram direc­tor at Cen­ter for Food Safe­ty.

The monarch but­ter­fly is North America’s most well-known and cher­ished insect,” said Sari­na Jepsen, endan­gered species pro­gram direc­tor at the Xerces Soci­ety. “With­out imme­di­ate action to pro­tect this species and restore crit­i­cal milk­weed habi­tat, the spec­tac­u­lar migra­tion of the monarch but­ter­fly may no longer be an expe­ri­ence for future gen­er­a­tions to enjoy.”

The Endan­gered Species Act is the most effec­tive tool avail­able for spurring the large-scale effort that’s need­ed to pro­tect the amaz­ing monarch but­ter­fly from extinc­tion,” said Tier­ra Cur­ry, senior sci­en­tist at the Cen­ter for Bio­log­i­cal Diver­si­ty.

Sig­na­to­ries of the sign-on let­ters include author Bar­bara King­solver, as well as lead­ing monarch sci­en­tists and advo­cates Karen Ober­hauser, John Pleas­ants, Ina War­ren, Robert Michael Pyle, Gary Nab­han and Lin­coln Brow­er, among oth­ers.

Groups sup­port­ing the peti­tion through the sign-on let­ters include envi­ron­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions, reli­gious groups and busi­ness­es. Among the sig­na­to­ries are Amy’s Kitchen, Catholic Rur­al Life, Cen­ter for Media and Democ­ra­cy, Cit­i­zens Cam­paign for the Envi­ron­ment, Clif Bar, Con­ser­v­a­tives for Respon­si­ble Stew­ard­ship, Dr. Bronner’s Mag­ic Soaps, Eco­log­i­cal Farm­ing Asso­ci­a­tion, Endan­gered Species Choco­late, the Endan­gered Species Coali­tion, Envi­ron­ment Amer­i­ca, Equal Exchange, Fam­i­ly Farm Defend­ers, Green Amer­i­ca, Green­peace USA, Humane Soci­ety of the Unit­ed States, Nation­al Audubon Soci­ety, Slow Food USA, Sier­ra Club, Wild Farm Alliance, and numer­ous River­keep­er chap­ters from across the coun­try.

Cen­ter for Food Safe­ty is a non­prof­it, pub­lic inter­est orga­ni­za­tion with over half a mil­lion mem­bers nation­wide. CFS and its mem­bers are ded­i­cat­ed to pro­tect­ing pub­lic health and the envi­ron­ment by curb­ing the use of harm­ful food pro­duc­tion tech­nolo­gies and instead pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able alter­na­tives.

The Xerces Soci­ety is a non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion that pro­tects wildlife through the con­ser­va­tion of inver­te­brates and their habi­tat. Estab­lished in 1971, the Soci­ety is at the fore­front of inver­te­brate pro­tec­tion world­wide, har­ness­ing the knowl­edge of sci­en­tists and the enthu­si­asm of cit­i­zens to imple­ment con­ser­va­tion pro­grams.

The Cen­ter for Bio­log­i­cal Diver­si­ty is a nation­al, non­prof­it con­ser­va­tion orga­ni­za­tion with more than 800,000 mem­bers and online activists ded­i­cat­ed to the pro­tec­tion of endan­gered species and wild places.