Seven yellow-faced bee species were placed under the protections of the Endangered Species Act by the US Fish and Wildlife Service last week. The bee species are native to Hawaii and their numbers have been dwindling due to environmental factors such as habitat loss and coastal development. Bees are essential in maintaining biodiversity and healthy ecosystems as they function as pollinators of a wide range of plant species. The new protections will allow authorities to implement recovery programs, access funding and limit their harm from outside sources according to Honolulu’s Fish and Wildlife conservation and restoration team manager Gregory Koob. “As an animal, it can’t be taken or harmed or killed by individuals,” Koob says. “Any research that is done needs a permit from Fish and Wildlife Service unless it’s done by a state agency.” Awareness about the importance of bees—including an art exhibit called the Grand Beedapest Hotel in England—is on the uptick due to growing concern over the collapse of bee colonies around the world.
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