|Bombus affinis. Photo by USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.|
Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) declared that it was placing the rusty patched bumblebee on the U.S. endangered species list.
The listing would have taken effect today, making this nearly extinct bumblebee the very first bumblebee species to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The rusty patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis) would also have been the first wild bee species to be declared endangered in the continental U.S.
Now, thanks to an executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump, the listing has been delayed.
The bumblebee was declared endangered during Barack Obama’s last days as the president. On January 20, however, the Trump administration placed a freeze on any rules that have been issued by the Obama administration but haven’t taken effect yet.
Following this order, the FWS announced Thursday that it was postponing the bumblebee’s listing date to March 21.
“In accordance with a January 20, 2017, memo from the White House, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are delaying the effective date of a rule we published on January 11, 2017,” the FWS said. “The effective date of the rule that published on January 11, 2017, at 82 FR 3186, is delayed from February 10, 2017, to March 21, 2017.”