PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed an insect native to the Pacific Northwest as endangered under the Endangered Species Act Monday.
The decision came after the Center for Biological Diversity took legal action, asking for the Franklin’s bumblebee to be listed as endangered.
The lawsuit, which was filed in April 2021, asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to protect the bumblebee and 19 other species.
While the recent decision is a step in the right direction, the Center for Biological Diversity said U.S. Fish and Wildlife didn’t go far enough. It said critical habitat should be designated for the imperiled bee, since it has a high risk of extinction from persistent threats like pathogens and pesticides.
They said the decision was limited by a decision the Trump administration made that limits critical habitat designations only to species directly threatened by habitat destruction.
The center said it is still challenging those resignations.
“Franklin’s bumblebee is one of the rarest in the world, and it will surely tumble into extinction without Endangered Species Act protections,” said Quinn Read, Oregon policy director at the Center. “This is a good step for these bumblebees, but the federal failure to protect critical habitat will make recovery an uphill battle. There’s just no way to save species like this unique bumblebee without protecting the places they live.”
Conservationists believe the bee still exists, but there hasn’t been a confirmed sighting since 2015.
The bee is native to Douglas, Jackson and Josephine counties in Southern Oregon and Siskiyou and Trinity counties in Northern California.