WASHINGTON (CN) – Despite finding that seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees should be protected under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that listing the bees is precluded by higher priority listing actions.
Instead of being added to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, the bees will be added to the candidate species list to wait until money becomes available to protect them or there is a major change in their status that warrants emergency listing.
The bees are picky pollinators and the agency says the invasion of non-native plants on the Hawaiian Islands and the destruction of existing native habitat for development and recreation are the greatest threat to their survival.
According to the agency’s Web site, as of Sept. 7, 2011, Hawaii had more species listed as threatened or endangered – 380 – than any other state, followed by California with 318 species.
Of the 250 species on the candidate species list, 57 occur partly or exclusively in Hawaii, nearly twice the next most concentrated grouping of 29 candidate species in Florida.
Last year the agency listed 48 speciesendemic to the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i to the endangered species list. That listing was the first ecosystem wide listing and largest single listing action since the Endangered Species Act was passed.