First Bumble Bee Protected as Endangered is Still Waiting for Help

Conservationists are suing the Trump administration to get an increasingly imperiled bumble bee the help it needs to survive.

The rusty patched bumble bee, which can be identified by a rust-colored patch on its abdomen, was once a commonly seen pollinator from the midwest to the east coast. Unfortunately, scientists believe that they have disappeared from 87 percent of their historic range since just the 1990s and that their population has declined by more than 90 percent.

According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation their main threats include pesticides, habitat loss, climate change, disease and the spread of pathogens from bees who are raised and sold commercially.

They were protected as Endangered under the Species at Risk Act in Canada and are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, but despite their dwindling numbers little has been done to ensure their survival in the U.S.

While conservation organizations have been working for years to help them, starting with the Xerces Society filing a petition to get them federally protected back in 2013, it wasn’t until 2016 that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) agreed that protection was warranted, and it wasn’t until 2017 that they were actually protected.

The listing marked the first time in history a bumble bee species has been federally protected, and the first time any bee has received federal protection in the continental U.S.

Still, this little bumble bee has continued to wait for the help it desperately needs. Just a week after President Trump took office, he directed agencies to postpone any regulations published in the federal register – effectively reversing their listing as endangered.

In response, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) successfully sued to reinstate protection, and now it’s taking legal action for the third time to protect this bumble bee’s home, which includes vital grassland habitat that has remained vulnerable to further destruction and degradation.

Under the Endangered Species Act, the FWS is legally required to designate critical habitat for protected species within one year of their listing and has still managed to miss that date – even with a one-year extension.

“It’s not too late to save the rusty patched bumble bee, but it is too late to sit idly as the bee’s habitat succumbs to continued destruction. This lawsuit should serve as a stinging reminder for the Trump Administration of what it needs to do to live up to the law,” said Lucas Rhoads, Staff Attorney for the Pollinator Initiative at the NRDC.

If this bumble bee disappeared, it wouldn’t just be a devastating loss, but really bad news for a world that depends on pollinators. Not only do these bumble bees pollinate a wide variety of wild plants that other species depend on for survival, but also important food crops including cranberries, blueberries, apples and alfalfa, among many others.

Hopefully this lawsuit will compel the FWS to take immediate action to designate critical habitat for the rusty patched bumblebee before it’s too late.

TAKE ACTION!

You can help show your support by signing and sharing the petition asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitat for the rusty patched bumble bee as it’s legally required to do under the Endangered Species Act.

Photo credit: Susan Day/FWS

71 comments

Ingrid A
Past Member 2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Catherine Z
Catherine Z2 months ago

thank you...so important!

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Tabot T
Tabot T2 months ago

Thanks for sharing!

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Barbara S
Barbara S2 months ago

Thanks for posting

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson2 months ago

Petition signed.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson2 months ago

Thank you.

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Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

Scary Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

They mustbe saved Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

Frightening Thank you for caring and sharing

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