SAVING THE TINIAN MONARCH

Not to be confused with the monarch butterfly — yet just as dainty and beautiful — the Tinian monarch is a small bird that lives only in forests on the island of Tinian, a tiny land mass in the Mariana archipelago. This unique flycatcher nearly became extinct when 95 percent of Tinian’s forests were cleared for agriculture prior to World War II and then for military activities during the war. The bird was protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1970. Endangered Species Act protection and vegetation recovery on the island helped its population to rebound, and in 2004 the monarch was delisted.

Unfortunately, the Tinian monarch’s habitat is once again imperiled. Less than 600 acres of native forest habitat remain on Tinian. Military activities are again increasing on Tinian, and so are urban development and agriculture. Without Endangered Species Act protection, the monarch has no mechanisms in place to save its remaining habitat from degradation. The flycatcher is also threatened by predation, typhoons and disease; its population declined by nearly 40 percent between 1996 and 2008.

To help save the Tinian monarch from the many dangers it faces, in 2013 the Center filed a petition to win it Endangered Species Act protection once again.