Monarch Policy and Listing Status


The monarch butterfly is a candidate species under the Endangered Species Act.

In 2014 the monarch butterfly was proposed for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act through a petition submitted by the Xerces Society and conservation partners, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, and the late Dr. Lincoln Brower. On December 15, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that listing the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act is warranted, but precluded by other priorities. This means that the species is a candidate species under the Endangered Species Act. Additionally, in July of 2022, the monarch butterfly was categorized as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, causing some confusion about the listing status of this species. To clarify, the IUCN designation does not provide any protections or regulatory authority as the ESA ruling would provide. It also does not change any existing rules or laws surrounding monarch handling, observations, etc. The CDFW has a great fact sheet on existing regulations in California.