Monarch Butterfly Endangered Species Act Listing “Found Warranted” By US Fish And Wildlife Service, But Resources Are Insufficient For Further Actions

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Monarch Butterfly Endangered Species Act Listing "Found Warranted" By US Fish And Wildlife Service, But Resources Are Insufficient For Further Actions
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After a detailed review, the US Fish And Wildlife Service has made a conclusive statement in a December 2020 Press Release, regarding insecticide use and the Monarch Butterfly. US FWS “Pesticide Supplemental Materials” for the Monarch states (p.15):

“Based on insecticide chemical characteristics and use; and the exposure potential, laboratory toxicity tests, field studies, and models presented herein, insecticides are a threat to monarch populations. This is primarily due to insecticides being used in areas on the landscape where monarchs occur; the fact that insecticides are designed to kill insects (and in many cases specifically target lepidopteran species); insecticides are likely to cause both lethal and nonlethal effects to non-target lepidopterans that are exposed in areas of application (such as crops fields, city parks, natural areas, residential areas, and yards and gardens); and may cause both lethal and nonlethal effects to non-target insects that are exposed from drift by droplet, vapor, and dust in areas outside of application sites and from systemic incorporation into non-target plant tissues.” [1]

Full scientific reports can be found at

Environmentalists have been sounding the alarm for years about the threat of agricultural chemicals to non-target species (French farmers were furious about “carpets of dead bees” following neonicotinoid insecticide use as far back as the late 1990’s!) but it seems to have taken until now for this to be “officially accepted” in the case of the monarch. It’s a step forward – yet despite the monarch’s status now being listed as endangered / threatened under the Endangered Species Act is warranted, resources will be directed towards “higher priority actions”. Presumably this means “even more endangered” species.

Translation: They would love to do something about it, but can’t afford it.

No doubt there are species that are even closer to extinction. But at least 90% of monarchs have been reported wiped out. How far does it have to go?

Of course, we all know what governments prefer to allocate funds towards. It’s so sad and tragic. How much do they need? What about the private sector. They have funds. Surely there is at least one billionaire that gives a damn……? Elon? Jeff?

Numerous insecticides were reviewed. The work is highly technical and one of the challenges is the minute amounts of chemicals involved. Exposure levels sufficient to pose a hazard to the creatures are often in nanograms. However not only insecticides but herbicides have come under attack. As reported in 2015 (Wikipedia):

“Use of glyphosate to clear milkweed along roads and fields may have contributed to a decline in monarch butterfly populations in the Midwestern United States.[173] Along with deforestation and adverse weather conditions,[174] the decrease in milkweed contributed to an 81% decline in monarchs.[175][176] The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a suit in 2015 against the EPA, in which it is argued that the agency ignored warnings about the dangers of glyphosate usage for monarchs.” [2]

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