Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) has written to federal officials to oppose the status review of the Tinian monarch, citing steps the CNMI agencies are taking to translocate and grow the population of this native and rare bird species on Tinian.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the status review of the Tinian monarch in September. The announcement came two years after a petition filed by the Center of Biological Diversity to protect the bird with endangered status in 2013.
In a Nov. 3 letter to Robyn Thorson, Pacific Regional director of the Service, Hofschneider states that this is fully aware that the Service’s review of the petition found status review warranted, but that a January 2014 letter to the petitioner found that the petition did not warrant an “emergency listing.”
“Since the issuance of the petition by the Center of Biological Diversity, biologists from our Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas’ Fish and Wildlife agency headed by the CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources have worked arduously to address the issue of the Tinian monarch,” he said.
He said the CNMI agency is taking proactive steps by conducting translocations of the Tinian monarch to neighboring islands north of the CNMI, citing the 49 Tinian monarchs the agency has translocated to the island of Guiguan, which is an island that consists of a forest area of 170.3 hectares.
Hofschneider said the CNMI Fish and Wildlife Agency plans to translocate another 50 Tinian monarchs within the next year and has created an action plan that proposes to keep translocating more Tinian monarchs to the islands of Agrihan and Pagan.
Hofschneider also notes that a “Terrestrial Biological Resources Survey Report” in July 2014 revealed that there is a steady increase of the population of the Tinian monarch bird species.
Hofschneider explains that the survey shows a population increase of 34,329 in a span of five years, from a population of 56,305 in 2008, to a spike of 90,634 in 2013.
He said this is clear evidence of a “natural phenomenon taking place showing positive signs of population growth for the Tinian monarch.”
“In conclusion,…it is not necessary to list the Tinian monarch as a threatened or endangered species.”