Bombus affinis, the rusty patched bumblebee. In January 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) declared that it was placing the rusty patched bumblebee on the U.S. endangered species list. Photo: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

By Shreya Dasgupta
10 February 2017

(Mongabay) – Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) declared that it was placing the rusty patched bumblebee on the U.S. endangered species list.

The listing would have taken effect today, making this nearly extinct bumblebee the very first bumblebee species to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The rusty patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis) would also have been the first wild bee species to be declared endangered in the continental U.S.

Now, thanks to an executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump, the listing has been delayed.

The bumblebee was declared endangered during Barrack Obama’s last days as the president. On January 20, however, the Trump administration placed a freeze on any rules that have been issued by the Obama administration but haven’t taken effect yet.

Following this order, the FWS announced Thursday that it was postponing the bumblebee’s listing date to March 21. […]

“The Trump administration has put the rusty patched bumble bee back on the path to extinction,” Rebecca Riley, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said in a statement. “This bee is one of the most critically endangered species in the country and we can save it – but not if the White House stands in the way.”

Riley told the Verge that NRDC is “exploring all options, including litigation.”

“The bee can’t wait,” she added. “It needs the protections of the Endangered Species Act and it needs them now.” [more]

Trump administration delays listing of rusty patched bumblebee as endangered

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