Winter 1998:
Regal Fritillary Update

This past Spring, NABA filed a lawsuit in federal court and forced the United States Army and the Pennsylvania National Guard to stop destroying the only remaining viable population of Regal Fritillaries in eastern North America. The opposition of the United States Firsh & Wildlife Service to the proposed National Guard activities was very helpful. This victory for Regals was only temporary, however. Although the Army and the National Guard agreed to further study the situation and to issue an environmental impact statement, our expectation is that when that statement is issued, probably in 1999, the National Guard will still proceed with its plan to create a tank maneuvering area, destroying the fritillaries. Unfortunately, The Nature Conservancy has decided that the Army is an important ally and is willing to sacrifice Regal Fritillaries in order to ingratiate themselves to those in power.

In the meantime, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has arranged for genetic tests of the Pennsylvania, Midwestern, and Western population of Regal Fritillaries to ascertain whether the Pennsylvania population may warrant designation as a subspecies. If these analyses sustain the concept of a separate subspecies, the Pennsylvania population would then be a strong candidate for the endangered species list and, if listed, would be afforded protection from the National Guard's plan. The two unknowns here are whether the genetic tests will support subspecies status and if so, whether listing could occur in time to save the butterfly.

We will keep NABA members informed as this situation unfolds.

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