Cornelisse petitions for ESA protection for Mojave desert bee
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition today asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to give Endangered Species Act protection to the Mojave poppy bee, which is known to survive only in seven locations in Clark County, Nev.
Although it once thrived across much of the Mojave Desert, the quarter-inch-long, yellow-and-black bee has been pushed to the brink of extinction by habitat loss, grazing, gypsum mining and motorized recreation. The bee’s pollinating skills are tightly linked to the survival of two rare desert poppy flowers, and the bee has disappeared as those plants have declined.
“If we don’t act quickly, we’re going to lose this beautiful little native bee as we watch two of the Mojave’s irreplaceable desert flowers continue to decline,” said Dr. Tara Cornelisse, an entomologist and senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Their story is a perfect example of why we can’t turn our backs on the plight of our imperiled native bees.”