Thought this of interest to subscribers. The habitat destruction is an all
to familiar scenario.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to Remove
Tinian Monarch from Endangered Species Act Protection
Based on recent population surveys, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
proposed today to remove the Tinian monarch, a small flycatcher found only
the island of Tinian in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
in the western Pacific, from the list of threatened and endangered species.
the proposal is finalized, this will be the fourth Pacific bird species
from the protection of the Endangered Species Act due to its recovery.
The Tinian monarch is a small (6-inch or 16-centimeter) flycatcher with
rufous underparts, olive-brown upperparts, dark brown wings and tail, and
rump and undertail coverts. It feeds primarily on insects.
Current population estimates indicate approximately 57,000 Tinian
exist on Tinian. They forage and breed throughout the entire island both
nonnative tangentangen and in native limestone forests. However, they live
reproduce in much higher numbers in the native forest.
The Tinian monarch was originally listed as an endangered species in
The CNMI government also placed the bird on its list of threatened or
"Severe habitat loss due to clearing of land for cattle grazing and
farming prior to World War II, and later extensive construction during the
led to very low population estimates," said Anne Badgley, the Service's
director for the Pacific region.
The decision to list the monarch was based on estimates of 50 or fewer
after World War II. Its numbers have increased considerably in the
years, Badgley said.
As tangentangen forests grew back to replace the cleared native forests,
monarch thrived. A survey of the monarch population in 1982 found the
population to number approximately 40,000 birds, and the species was
subsequently downlisted to threatened status in 1987. The ability of the
monarch to survive and thrive despite severe habitat modification is a
to the hardiness of this unique island bird, according to Fish and Wildlife
Although some development of the island of Tinian is expected in the
most of the best monarch habitat native limestone forest is likely to
because it occurs along cliff faces where development is not possible.
tracts of tangentangen habitat in which the monarch also survives and
quite well are leased by the U.S. military, and development on those sites
expected to be minimal. Increased efforts to prevent the introduction of
predatory brown tree snakes from Guam are underway and will help protect
bird species on Tinian.
Future monitoring of this species will be conducted to ensure that its
populations do not decline to a level that threatens its long-term
The Service will continue current discussions with the government of Tinian
establish wildlife conservation areas.
The Service published the proposed decision to delist the species in the
Federal Register on February 22, 1999. A public comment period is open
April 23, 1999. Comments should be sent to the Field Supervisor, Pacific
Islands Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite
3-122, Box 50088, Honolulu, Hawaii 96850. Copies of the proposed rule are
available by calling the Pacific Islands Office at (808) 541-3441.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and
their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The
manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprised of
than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other
special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries and
Ecological Services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife
administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations,
restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife
habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their
efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds
millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to
fish and wildlife agencies.
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