Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bees added to US endangered species list for the first time | Environment | The Guardian

Seven types of bees once found in abundance in Hawaii have become the first bees to be added to the US federal list of endangered and threatened species.

Placing yellow-faced bees under federal safeguards comes just over a week since the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed adding the imperilled rusty patched bumble bee, a prized but vanishing pollinator once found in the upper midwest and north-eastern United States, to the endangered and threatened species list.
One of several wild bee species seen declining over the past two decades, the rusty patched bumble bee is the first in the continental United States formally proposed for protections.
...The listing decision, published on Friday in the Federal Register, classifies seven varieties of yellow-faced or masked bees as endangered, due to such factors as habitat loss, wildfires and the invasion of non-native plants and insects...
...The bees faced a variety of threats including “feral pigs, invasive ants, loss of native habitat due to invasive plants, fire, as well as development, especially in some for the coastal areas”, Jepson told Associated Press...
...Hawaii-based entomologist Karl Magnacca said the bees “tend to favor the more dominant trees and shrubs we have here”, he said. “People tend to focus on the rare plants, and those are important, that’s a big part of the diversity. But the other side is maintaining the common ones as common. (The bees) help maintain the structure of the whole forest.”
The bees were critical for maintaining the health of plants and other animals across the islands, said Gregory Koob, conservation and restoration team manager for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Honolulu.
“Those plants are not only food and nesting habitat for the bees, but they also provide habitat for other animals,” he said. “It’s the web of life.”

complete article: Bees added to US endangered species list for the first time | Environment | The Guardian

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