For the first time in North America, the rusty patched bumblebee has been declared endangered. This species can now join the grizzly bear, the northern spotted owl and the grey wolf in the ever-growing list of endangered animals. Since the late 1990’s, the rusty patched bumblebee has declined in population of 87%, and can now only be found in 12 states and Ontario, Canada.
The rusty patched bumblebee, scientifically called Bombus Affinis can be classified with the red patch found in its abdomen. Originally published endangered in the Federal Register by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last January 11, 2017, the official listing only took effect on March 21, 2017 due to Trump’s administration efforts to review Obama-era regulations.
The bumblebee’s declining population is due to the loss of their natural habitat because of urban development. This classification will now promote conservation of all grasslands for all pollinators to naturally thrive and survive.
Rich Hatfield, Xerxes Society and senior conservation biologist asserted that, “while this listing clearly supports the rusty patched bumble bee, the entire suite of pollinators that share its habitat, and which are so critical to natural ecosystems and agriculture, will also benefit. This is a positive step towards the conservation of this species, and we now have to roll up our sleeves to begin the actual on-the-ground conservation that will help it move toward recovery.”
Pollinating species are responsible for propagating one-third of our food supply, therefore the listing of the rusty patched bumblebee is “one of the most significant species listings in decades in terms of scope and impact on human activities.” With this, there is still a chance that the move will face numerous challenges from industries and corporations that have other agendas.