Missing in Action – Wild bees forgotten for their service
Canada’s commander in chief for the environment has forgotten the tiny, stalwart creatures that serve us every day to ensure a secure food supply – four species of wild bees that urgently need protection and rescue plans. In the military world, “missing in action” is taken seriously. Personnel may be killed, wounded, or taken a prisoner of war. Whatever the case, they are not forgotten. These wild bees have served us well as pollinators and, now, face unprecedented threats from pesticides particularly neonicotinoids, disease from pathogen-infected bumble bees escaping from commercial greenhouses, ever shrinking habitat and now climate change.
We, Canadians, have a small but oh so important battalion of scientists and citizens out in the field counting and monitoring and assessing wild bees. Their findings are deeply disturbing. And what is even more disturbing is that the urgency of their assessments are going ignored.
There is a system available that can and should provide vital recovery action for these important wild bees – scientists report their assessment through the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommending, when appropriate, listing as endangered under our Species at Risk Act (SARA). But unless the federal Minister of the Environment takes the final step to so designate these four bees, no recovery work, no protection will be triggered.
Friends of the Earth and colleagues have enlisted the support of Ecojustice lawyers to urge the Minister to list these bees. The deadline for three of the bees is overdue and for one, grossly overdue.
By the way, even when a federal election is underway, the current Minister of Environment has duties to perform. There is no reason to miss the deadlines for listing – other than chronic negligence of environmental duties.
Missing in Action – Can we afford to forget these wild bees? From Nova Scotia the Macropis Cuckoo Bee, from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Western Bumble Bee occidentalis, from the Yukon, Northwest Territories and British Columbia, the Western Bumble Bee mckayi, and from all over Canada, the Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee – they’ve served us well. It’s time to get recovery work underway pdq by officially listing these four wild bees under the Species at Risk Act.