The rusty patched bumble bee, which can be identified by a rust-colored patch on its abdomen, was once a commonly seen pollinator from the midwest to the east coast.
Unfortunately, scientists believe that they have disappeared from 87 percent of their historic range since just the 1990s and that their population has declined by more than 90 percent.
While conservation organizations have been working for years to help them, it wasn't until 2016 that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) agreed that protection was warranted, and it wasn't until 2017 that they were actually protected.
The listing marked the first time in history a bumble bee species has been federally protected, and the first time any bee has received federal protection in the continental U.S.
Still, this little bumble bee has continued to wait for the help it desperately needs. Under the Endangered Species Act, the FWS is legally required to designate critical habitat for protected species within one year of their listing, but has still managed to miss that date for this bumble bee – even with a one-year extension.
The agency is now facing a third lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council on behalf of this bumble bee, which seeks to compel it to take action to protect their home from further destruction.
You can show your support for protecting the rusty patched bumble bee by signing and sharing this petition urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take immediate action to designate critical habitat for them.