While the federal government has already been involved and helping the monarch butterfly populations in the United States, recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it is going to protect the butterfly under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The act has been used to save a number of species in the past. However, more and more evidence is showing that the ESA is also being used for other purposes. By placing species on the list, land use by the species can be turned over to the federal government. Recently, the prairie chicken was put on the list along with the infamous spotted owl standoff.
The butterflies mate, lay eggs and feed on milkweed plants while they are temporarily in the United States. Potentially, the federal government could gain control over all of the milkweed plant land.
Even a well-respected monarch butterfly expert (Chip Taylor) said that he does not welcome this form of protection of the butterfly. Taylor, an insect ecologist at Kansas University said:
Nobody wants the government to tell them what to do with their property. The real challenge is to get the message out and get the public involved. This really is the way to go.
The federal government can continue to grow its size and power through many actions including using the Endangered Species Act. As Taylor pointed out, there are other ways to protect a species. Public response and efforts to endangered species around the globe is really having great success. Federal government intervention is the wrong direction.