Bee species added to endangered list for first time
For the first time in the United States, bees have been placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act.
Seven yellow-faced bee species that were once abundant in their native home of Hawaii, were declared endangered on Friday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Associated Press reported.
Those species have been devastated by “habitat loss, wildfires and the invasion of non-native plants and insects,” according to The Guardian.
The federal protection of the bees will “allow authorities to implement recovery programs, access funding and limit their harm from outside sources,” according to the AP.
These species of bees are essential to the islands’ produce. In general, bees add billions of dollars to U.S. agriculture each year, according to Reuters. Many indigenous Hawaiian plant species could go extinct if the native species of bees were to totally disappear from the islands.
Sarina Jepson, endangered species program director at Portland-based conservation organization the Xerces Society, told the AP that the bees are threatened by “feral pigs, invasive ants, loss of native habitat due to invasive plants, fire, as well as development, especially in some for the coastal areas.”
Entomologist Karl Magnacca, who has worked wit