VOLUME 10 - 2017-2018 ISSUE 1
10 Ky. J. Equine, Agric. & Nat. Resources L. 67 (2018).
BATTLING THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT: WHY THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY NEEDS PROTECTION UNDER THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
Note Written by: Jeana M. Mason
The monarch butterfly (i.e., monarch) is an insect that is essential to a healthy and well-sustained ecosystem. Most notably, monarchs help pollinate over a third of the world’s crop production. They are also indicators of healthy eco-systems, an important link in the food chain, and a valuable educational resource (through study of their life-cycles and migration patterns). Unfortunately, populations of pollinators, including monarchs, have significantly declined in the last few decades. In fact, there has been over a ninety-six percent decline in the North American monarch population over the last twenty years. This has led many to push for increased conservation efforts, including urging the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to place the monarch under the protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Any such action, however, has yet to occur. This Note advocates that monarchs should be listed as an endangered species in order to gain the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act. This is particularly necessary because the efforts of the USDA, EPA, and FWS have not been successful in increasing or even sustaining habitats for the monarch.