Group seeks endangered listing for Southern Oregon bee

A conservation group wants to add a bumblebee from Southern Oregon and Northern California to the endangered species list.

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and University of California at Davis entomologist Robbin Thorp today formally petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect Franklin's bumblebee under the Endangered Species Act.

Scott Black of the Xerces Society says the petition is part of an effort to reverse the decline of bumblebees and other native bees nationwide. Bees pollinate about 15 percent of all crops grown in the nation, worth $3 billion.

Thorp's surveys for the Franklin's bumblebee have shown a dramatic decline in numbers since 1998, with none seen since 2003.

— The Associated Press

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