3 years ago



disease and predation,

disease and predation, overutilization, other factors including climate change, pesticides, and severe weather events, and by a lack of existing regulations which would be adequate to safeguard the species. The monarch is threatened range-wide, and in addition, there is no question that the monarch is severely threatened in the North American portion of its range. Though the newly finalized SPR policy is overly restrictive and illegal, even under that new policy, the North American monarch qualifies as significant. In addition, when examined under the original policy, there is no doubt that the North American monarch qualifies as a significant population. The Endangered Species Act defines an endangered species as “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range” and a threatened species as “any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” The language of the statute, legislative history, congressional intent, and relevant judicial precedent all instruct that a species need not be at risk of worldwide extinction to qualify for Endangered Species Act protection. Rather, as noted in the draft policy, a species can qualify as an endangered species in two ways: if it is in danger of extinction “throughout all of its range,” or if it is in danger of extinction “in a significant portion of its range.” In enacting this provision, Congress intended to provide a means to protect species before they are on the brink of extinction, which is of paramount importance to species conservation. In sum, the monarch butterfly is threatened with extinction across its range and thus whether it is threatened in a significant portion of its range is ancillary. The monarch, however, is threatened with extinction in a significant portion of its range, the North American population, and meets the threshold of significance as defined in the July 2014 SPR policy and under the original interpretation of the SPR policy. CONCLUSION The Endangered Species Act requires that the Service promptly issue an initial finding as to whether this petition “presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted.” 16 U.S.C. § 1533(b)(3)(A). There is no question that under the five listing factors of the Act, protecting the monarch butterfly may be warranted. The monarch is threatened by loss or curtailment of habitat or range, disease and predation, and other factors including global climate change, pesticides, and drought. There are no existing regulatory mechanisms which are adequate to protect the monarch butterfly. The Service must act promptly to protect this iconic species and to designate critical habitat in order to reverse its precipitous decline and to plan for the monarch’s long-term survival and recovery. REQUEST FOR CRITICAL HABITAT DESIGNATION Petitioners urge the Service to designate critical habitat for the monarch butterfly concurrently with its listing. Critical habitat as defined by Section 3 of the ESA is: (i) the specific areas within the geographical area occupied by a species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of section 1533 of this title, on which are found those physical or biological features (I) essential to the conservation of the species and (II) which may require special management considerations or protection; and (ii) the specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by Monarch ESA Petition 112

the species at the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of section 1533 of this title, upon a determination by the Secretary that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. 16 U.S.C. § 1532(5). Congress recognized that the protection of habitat is essential to the recovery and/or survival of listed species, stating that: “classifying a species as endangered or threatened is only the first step in ensuring its survival. Of equal or more importance is the determination of the habitat necessary for that species’ continued existence… If the protection of endangered and threatened species depends in large measure on the preservation of the species’ habitat, then the ultimate effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act will depend on the designation of critical habitat.” H. Rep. No. 94-887 at 3 (1976). Critical habitat is an effective and important component of the ESA, without which the monarch’s chance for survival diminishes. Petitioners thus request that the Service propose critical habitat for the butterfly concurrently with its proposed listing. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The following people played a significant role in the development of this petition: Tierra Curry, Martha Crouch, Bill Freese, Sarina Jepsen, Lori Ann Burd, George Kimbrell, Noah Greenwald, and Tanya Sanerib. The petitioners are grateful to several reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions, and also wish to thank Jeffrey E. Belth for permission to use his photographs. WORKS CITED Ackery, P.R., and R.I. Vane-Wright. 1984. Milkweed butterflies, their cladistics and biology, being an account of the natural history of the Danainae, a subfamily of the Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae. British Museum (Natural History). 425 pp. Agrawal, A.A., G. Petschenka, R.A. Bingham, M.G. Weber, and S. Rasmann. 2012. Toxic cardenolides: chemical ecology and coevolution of specialized plant-herbivore interactions. New Phytologist 194:28–45. Available from (accessed June 11, 2013). Alder, J.R. and S.W. Hostetler. 2013. USGS National Climate Change Viewer. U.S. Geological Survey. Available from (accessed June 16, 2014). Altizer, S., L. Brower, E. Howard, and K. Oberhauser. 2014. Concerns about Mass-rearing and Selling of Monarchs. Website. Available from (accessed August 20, 2014). Monarch ESA Petition 113

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