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Permit to Rear Monarchs and Swallowtails

The Ontario Fish and Wildlife Act requires that any person rearing more than one individual specimen of certain butterfly species -- the monarch butterfly and any species of swallowtail -- must hold a permit from issued by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The TEA has such a permit, and any TEA member can ask to be covered. Membership in the TEA generally costs $30 per year (waived for students). None of this money goes to the government. All of it is used to fund our insect activities: publications, meetings, butterfly and moth atlases, etc.

It is difficult to avoid disease where large numbers are reared, so the permit has a limit on the quantity that can be removed from the wild in any year. This limit varies by species: 100 for monarchs; 25 for Black Swallowtail, Giant Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Canadian Tiger Swallowtail; and 10 for Pipevine Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail and Zebra Swallowtail.

The permit also permits capturing and killing a few individuals of these species, perhaps for the purpose of making an insect collection.

The permit also covers monarch tagging. An unlimited number of monarchs can be tagged under the permit.

The permit requires that the location of release be less than 50 km from the location of capture.

Provincial parks and conservation areas have their own rules, so the permit does not provide authority for taking these species from such areas.

Presently about 115 individuals and families are on the permit. People can be added to the permit at any time.

To be on the permit, you have to agree to the following:

- Allow the TEA to provide your contact information (name, address, phone number and email) to the Ontario government. The government needs to know who is on the permit.

- Each fall, provide the TEA on request with information about your rearing activity under the permit. The TEA uses this information for a report to the government. The information needed is the number of each species removed from the wild, whether ova or larvae were captured, and (since there is always mortality) the number which were released.

All of the above details are specific to the TEA permit. Other permits issued by the MNRF could have different rules.

Contact Alan Macnaughton for more details about joining the TEA permit. Thelma Beaubien prepares the report to the MNRF so she may contact you about that.