It is now official that bumblebee is on the list of the ever-expanding list of the endangered species. Among other species on the list include more than 700 other animals that now extinct. The northern spotted owl, the grizzly bear, and the grey wolf are also at the verge of disappearing from the planet. The rusty-patched bee that was on dominant in prairies and the grassland of Midwest and the East can now be found in restricted protections in the continental US. Shockingly, their population continues to dwindle at a very high rate.
It is estimated that about 95% of bumblebee can only be spotted in isolated pockets in only 12 states plus the province of Ontario in Canada.
Speaking to Forbes James stranger, a research entomologist and bumblebee ecologist said there are only a few areas where this species can be rarely found.
Scientifically known as Bombus affinis, the name of this bee hailed from the red patch located on its abdomen. The tossing and turning of the Trump’s administration delayed the inclusion of this bee on the list of the endangered species. The original listing was supposed to have been done on 10 February 2018, but it was delayed until a few days ago.
Better Survival Chances
According to the director of the Xerces Society of the endangered species Sarah Jespen, they were thrilled to see the inclusion of North America’s most endangered species in the protection list. She added that the rusty-patched bee now stands a better chance of surviving despite the many threats it faces, including from the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in dealing with diseases.
Loss of Natural Habitat
The bees declining population can be blamed in part on human encroachment of their natural habitat. Following the listing, efforts will be geared toward the protection of grasslands and conservation of tall grasses where this bee and other pollinators thrive naturally.
Rich Hatfield, a senior conservation biologist of Xerces Society, the listing evidently supports not only the bumblebee but also other pollinators living in the same habitat. This will also benefit agriculture and natural ecosystems. Rich notes that this is a positive step to conserve the species and that they will now initiate conservation efforts toward recovery.
Despite welcoming the listing of bumblebee as an endangered species, several industries and corporations are not happy. Therefore, the move might face many challenges.
A petition from some industries and corporations states that the implications of this speedy listing decision are not easy to overstate. They include:
- National Association of Home Builders
- American Petroleum Institute
- The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
- National Cotton Council of America
There were also two entities directed to the Secretary of the Interior and Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services requesting for a year’s delay in the listing.
In reference to Darryl Fears from the Washington Post, a coalition of signatories may attempt to file cases to seek de-listing of the bee.
A study by the Center for Biological Diversity that was published in February 2018, titled ‘pollinators in peril’ demonstrated that 347 species of bee native to Hawaii and North America were escalating towards extinction.
Although many people may think that saving bees is not an essential task, there are about 128,000 people who strongly believe that conservation efforts should start immediately and have thus signed an agreement to have the rusty-patched bumblebee listed as endangered. Thus, the opposition might be counterproductive because the bee is indeed an endangered pollinator.