Rare Species Research Assistant

Website Grand Canyon National Park/Science and Resource Management/Vegetation Program

Since the 1990s, the western population of monarch butterflies, which winters in California, have suffered grave declines as population size has plummeted from 1.2 million in the 1990s to fewer than 2,000 individuals in 2020. In 2014, these drastic declines prompted a petition to list monarch butterflies under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, & on 12/15/2020 the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined that adding the monarch butterfly to the list of threatened & endangered species is warranted but precluded due to work on higher-priority listing actions. 

Grand Canyon National Park (GRCA) and the Colorado River occur along a critical monarch butterfly (hereafter referred to as ‘monarchs’) migration flyway and offer host plants (i.e., milkweed) that are essential for monarch survival. Unfortunately, this once common and widespread butterfly species is suffering severe population declines, and immediate action is needed to prevent species extinction. 

This internship will advance monarch butterfly conservation through monarch habitat creation, community science, interpretation and education, and information sharing with decision-makers. 

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