Here at the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s International Operations Centre on Cape Cod, we keep bees. Walking through the windowed hallways, every now and then you’ll spy a coworker suited up in white as small honey bees buzz around them.

Over the years, headlines have highlighted the decline of bees. With all the discouraging news, it’s hard not to be worried. On the one hand, this is another vicious product of climate change but it also highlights the lack of habitat preservation for pollinators in our own backyards.

With our hives at IFAW we work to do our part in preserving bee populations from cultivating hives year round to ensuring we plant pollinator-friendly plant species. At the conclusion of this National Pollinator Week here in the US, we’ll be planting two bee-friendly Korean Evodia trees.

While some may say our work is just a drop in the bucket for the preservation of these invertebrates that are so easily overlooked, I see it as making a difference.

In March the rusty patch bumblebee was listed as endangered. As stated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, “[the species is] now balancing precariously on the brink of extinction,” with populations of the bumblebee plummeting by 87 percent since the 1990s.

Monarch butterflies, another iconic pollinator, have similarly been decimated. In a study published by Scientific Reports in March 2016, the population of eastern monarchs has dropped by 80 percent in the last decade. This year, the World Wildlife Fund Mexico’s annual monarch count showed that the population took another hit; declining one third since the 2015-2016 count.

Insects like bees and butterflies are vital to helping pollinate flowering plants. Without the transfer of pollen from flower to flower, the health of native species and ecosystems are at risk. As noted by Pollinator Partnership 75 percent of all flowering plant species need the help of an animal for fertilization. Within the US alone, an estimated one third of all foods and beverages are produced with a pollinator. These insects are crucial to the health of the environment. People often don’t realize how important pollinators are to our own food supply and the ecosystems we all are a part of.

Beekeeping for me, has turned from a curiosity to a passion. Just watching the bees in their hives and how they interact is amazing. I hope that as IFAW continues this project others will work to preserve these buzzing creatures as well.

–PB

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Article source: IFAW

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