16 Apr 2018

US Fish and Wildlife sued for not protecting CNMI songbird

3:02 pm on 16 April 2018

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is facing a lawsuit for allegedly failing to protect the Tinian Monarch songbird which can only be found in the Northern Marianas.

The Tinian Monarch

The Tinian Monarch Photo: supplied / Mark Rabago

The Center for Biological Diversity filed its case last week in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

The filing notes that the small bird lives only on Tinian, a 60 square kilometre island in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.

It said the bird is severely threatened by plans to expand military-training activities in the monarch's last remaining forest habitat.

The Center petitioned for the protection of the Tinian Monarch in 2013 under the Endangered Species Act, which gives the Fish and Wildlife Service one year to respond.

The agency has yet to do so.

Even so it identified the monarch as critically imperiled, meaning that its protection should be highest priority.

The Service has scheduled the decision for fiscal year 2017 in its own workplan, but to date has not moved to protect the species.

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