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Yes, the bumblebee has been added to a list of endangered species

“Bumblebee has officially been added to the ever-growing list of endangered species,” reads the headline of an article on the website Healthy Food House and posted to Facebook.

Is this true? A Facebook user thought it wasn’t, and flagged it as possibly false under the social network’s third-party fact-checking programme. But the story checks out.

The article says the rusty patched bumblebee (scientific name Bombus affinis) “has been officially added to the list of endangered species” in the US, joining the grey wolf, grizzly bear and northern spotted owl.

Bees play an important role in the ecosystem by pollinating a wide variety of crops.

The website accurately quotes a National Geographic article. “Advocates for the rusty patched bumblebee’s listing are abuzz with relief, but it may be the first skirmish in a gruelling conflict over the fate of the Endangered Species Act under the Trump administration.

Listed as endangered in 2017

National Geographic links to a notice in the Federal Register, the “daily journal of the United States government”. The notice says the listing of the rusty-patched bumblebee was delayed by two months.

“On January 11, 2017, we published a rule to list the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis), a species that occurs in the eastern and Midwestern United States and Ontario, Canada, as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The rule was to be effective on February 10, 2017. On January 20, 2017, the White House issued a memo instructing Federal agencies to temporarily postpone the effective date for 60 days after January 20, 2017, of any regulations that have published in the Federal Register but not yet taken effect, for the purpose of ‘reviewing questions of fact, law, and policy they raise’.”

The new date of the rule is 21 March 2017, meaning the rusty patched bumblebee was listed on that date. This status is confirmed on the US Fish and Wildlife Service website, while another three bumblebee species are listed as “under review in the candidate or petition process”.

So, yes: the article is true. – Africa Check (16/05/19)

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