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Tinian monarch

The Tinian monarch (Monarcha takatsukasae) is a forest bird endemic to the island of Tinian in the Mariana Archipelago [1]. The removal of native forests for sugarcane production prior to World War II and military activities during the war caused the Tinian monarch population to reach critically low levels [1, 2]. The species was as endangered listed in 1970 [1].

Following the war, the U.S. military seeded much of Tinian with a shrubby legume to which the Tinian monarch adapted to well [2]. Surveys conducted in 1982 estimated the Tinian monarch population at 39,338 [1]. This prompted the downlisitng of the monarch to threatened in 1987 [1]. In 1994 and 1995 the population was estimated at 52,900 and in 1996, a replication of the 1982 surveys produced an estimate of 55,720 [1]. The 1996 survey also found that forest density had increased indicating that the quality of the monarch’s habitat had improved as well [1]. In 1999 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed delisting the Tinian monarch and in 2004 the final rule to delist the species was published [1]. Although current agricultural development is expected to remove some forest habitat, much of the land on Tinian is leased by the U.S. navy for training and development in these areas is expected to be minimal [2]. There are plans to monitor Tinian monarch populations through 2010 [1].

[1] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2004. Draft Post-delisting Monitoring Plan for the Tinian Monarch (Monarcha takatsukasae): Notice of Availability. Federal Register December, 13, 2004. (69 FR 72211-72212)
[2] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1985. Proposal to remove the Tinian Monarch flycatcher from the list of threatened and endangered species. Federal Register November 1, 1985 (50 FR 45632-45633].

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