Portland organization applauds addition of bees to Endangered Sp - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland organization applauds addition of bees to Endangered Species Act

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

For the first time, a bee species has been protected under the Endangered Species Act, and a local group is applauding the decision.

There has been a lot of concern in recent years about the declining bee populations.

This recent announcement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service involves seven species of bees in Hawaii, but it's a landmark decision for bee advocates around the world, who hope to have additional species added to the list.

Fox 12 spoke to a representative from Xerces Society, a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. 

The Portland-based organization lobbied for the recent special designation.

"These bees, collectively, fulfill the roles as pollinators for the great majority of our crops. They make our landscapes look nice. They make our gardens look beautiful, and so, they are just profoundly important in our landscapes and in our community," said Matthew Shepherd, Communications Director at Xerces Society.

The organization said habitat loss, pesticides and the loss of genetic diversity are all threatening bee populations, and the world food supply is threatened as a result.

Bee advocates said everyone can help protect bees by limiting pesticide use and by maintaining healthy gardens at home.

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