Editor’s Choice: Biological observations require patience. Biological conservation calls for urgency. When citizen science works in concert with national policy, it allows us to coordinate slow and rapid paced efforts. This is necessary to gain traction on challenging issues. For specific actions you can take to help the rusty patched bumble bee, read the species fact sheet. — AWA —
Excerpt: This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as endangered. The bee had already attracted attention as the focus of an award-winning short film, and the announcement of its listing caught the attention of even more people. For one thing, the rusty patched bumble bee is the first bee ever added to the endangered species list since it was initiated in 1973. With the decline of pollinators receiving widespread attention from the public, it’s no surprise that many were interested to hear about the federal protection of this little bee. Of even more interest to many of our readers is the connection between the rusty patched bumble bee and citizen science.
When the USFWS determines whether a species will be listed as endangered, they do so by creating a comprehensive species status assessment, a lengthy scientific document that analyzes all the available data on the species in question, conservation threats, and overall likelihood that the species will go extinct. The species status assessment for the rusty patched bumble bee was able to use high quality citizen science data from projects like Bumble Bee Watch, and these monitoring efforts were some of the few factors the assessment found to be acting in favor of the bee. That means that you can help the rusty patched bumble bee recover by collecting citizen science data!
Photo Credit: Rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis). Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey via Flickr.