Target: Daniel M. Ashe, Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Grant protection of monarch butterflies under the Endangered Species Act
Two decades ago, Labor Day marked an amazing natural trek; a billion monarch butterflies would begin their epic migration back to their winter breeding grounds from the opposite side of the United States. This magnificent journey still takes place, though the butterflies are now facing devastatingly low numbers since the 1990s. The decline has officially been linked back to pesticide use, specifically those used on the butterflies’ favored flower: milkweed. While more research is done with the goal to increase monarch numbers, the species must be protected under the Endangered Species Act, requiring caution be taken with habitats and preferred food choices.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has recently been receiving pressure about its growing list of endangered species. Due to this, as well as other factors, the FWS is often hesitant about listing insects in the Endangered Species Act. As was seen with the Miami blue butterfly, which dangerously numbered 50 individuals before the FWS listed it, insect species are not protected until they are almost extinct. This trend cannot be allowed to affect monarch butterflies.
Regulation, protection and preservation of milkweeds’ organic state should be of utmost importance to help monarch numbers thrive once again. In order for this to happen efficiently, influence needs to come from the FWS; the monarch butterfly must be listed as endangered. Severe consequences must ensue from any harm done unto the species. Monarch butterflies now number an estimated 35 million individuals, which is a 97 percent decline since their peak. Urge the FWS to fight for monarch butterflies by listing the species as endangered.
Dear Daniel M. Ashe,
I am writing on behalf of the declining monarch butterfly species. Since the species’ peak in the 1990’s, it has experienced a 97% decrease in number. Due to extensive research, scientists have found one of the primary causes to be a poison now masking the monarchs’ favorite food: milkweed. The poison is linked to Monsanto and its RoundUp weed killer. Insects are being decimated by the various pesticides. While this is a major issue, I am asking you to make one solid change in order to help save the monarch butterflies: Mr. Ashe, please list the monarch butterfly as a protected species under the Endangered Species Act.
With strict control over food supply and massive habitats, monarch butterflies will have a fighting chance of survival. I urge you to protect milkweed in certain prominent and expansive areas for the species to feed on. If the species is protected, key offenders would have a harder time killing the species off, intentionally or not.
Please do the right thing for the iconic monarch butterfly. Twenty-somethings who grew up in the 90’s would thank you, as would one of the most beautiful and graceful creatures to ever exist.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: William Warby via Flickr