The US Fish and Wildlife Service has given endanger species status to seven types of yellow-faced bees native to Hawaii.
These are the first bees in the country to be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
A United Nations-sponsored report released in February found that about 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species (such as bees and butterflies) are facing extinction. You don’t have to be a bee expert to know this has implications for our future food supply considering “about 75 percent of the world’s food crops…depend at least partly on pollination.”
This new protection status for bees “will allow authorities to implement recovery programs, access funding and limit their harm from outside sources,” Gregory Koob from the Fish and Wildlife Service told the Associated Press.
The Fish and Wildlife service determine if a species is endangered or a threatened species based on these of five factors: (1) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (2) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (3) disease or predation; (4) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (5) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.
The FWS decision to add the bees to the endangered list happened on September 30.
The Free Thought Project has more:
The endangered species listing is sure to accelerate efforts to protect the native bees, such as artificial nest boxes that keep ants out and placing them in areas where bees no longer live so they can reestablish populations. Conserving the remaining natural habitat is also crucial in protecting the bees and other dwindling native plant and animal species.
On the larger issue of protecting bumblebee and other native bee populations from going extinct, it is time for agribusiness and government to admit that neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) – which have become the favorite poison of the chemically-dependent, industrial agriculture system – are devastating bees and other beneficial organisms.
For too long, the corporate purveyors of these toxic chemicals, such as Bayer and Monsanto, along with their partners in federal agencies, have been hiding and downplaying the science on neonics. While numerous formulations have been rubber-stamped for approval, securing billions in profits and kickbacks, environmental and human health have been the victims.
Not only is this driving many species to extinction, but it also poses a grave threat to our agricultural integrity, as bumblebees and honey bees play a critical role in pollinating fruit crops. The bumblebees’ contribution to farms is estimated at $3.5 billion.
It’s time for habitat loss and pesticide use to become front page news, before we wake up to find these beneficial creatures gone forever, and with it, the stability of our food system and natural ecosystems.