Protect the rusty patched bumblebee!

On March 21, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) officially listed the rusty patched bumblebee under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), after months of turmoil due to the Trump Administration’s temporary freeze on federal regulations adopted at the end of the Obama Administration. This historic protection comes at a critical moment for this important pollinator, which has vanished from 90 percent of its range since the 1990s.

According to FWS, “Causes of the decline in rusty patched bumble bee populations are believed to be loss of habitat; disease and parasites; use of pesticides that directly or indirectly kill the bees; climate change, which can affect the availability of the flowers they depend on; and extremely small population size. Most likely, a combination of these factors has caused the decline in rusty patched bumble bees.” There is substantial research demonstrating that neonicotinoid insecticides, working either individually or synergistically, play a critical role in the ongoing decline of bees and other pollinators.

Although there may be weaknesses in the ultimate protection, environmental groups and other concerned parties can unify around strenuously enforcing this decision. As EPA makes decisions on allowable pesticide use, it must ensure that the approved pesticide uses do not “take” or “harm” the listed species. Groups will keep a lookout for new lawsuits coming from industry to challenge this decision. While attacks against ESA listings are likely to become more frequent over the next several years, the importance of wild pollinators, both to agricultural productivity and for their intrinsic value, has become more widely understood, as domesticated and native bees suffer dramatic declines in their population.

Sign the petition below to send a message of support to FWS officials! 


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