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Teresa DeWitt

The monarch butterfly is our state insect and has received quite a bit of attention in recent years due to its declining migratory population.

Earlier this summer, the monarch butterfly was in the news as the International Union for Conservation of Nature designated the migratory species as “endangered” on its Red List of Threatened Species. This announcement sparked some misunderstanding as many confused that with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services’ endangered species list. Both include a designation of “endangered,” but each means something different for the monarch and for all of us.

IUCN is an international organization and one of the world’s leading authorities on the extinction risk of the many thousands of species it has assessed globally. While endangered status on its Red List is of grave concern, it does not have the regulatory implications that endangered status carries if the monarch were listed as endangered on the U.S. government’s list.

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