TORONTO – Five environmental groups are pressing the federal Minister of the Environment to list four wild bee species under the Species at Risk Act(SARA). Listing these bees is the crucial — and overdue — first step in protecting them from threats to their survival and recovery, including the use of harmful neonicotinoid pesticides.
“The Minister has a legal obligation to list these essential wild pollinators under SARA,” said Lara Tessaro, Ecojustice lawyer. “We need to ensure that wild bees are protected from threats to their survival, including neonicotinoid pesticides, habitat loss, diseases, and climate change.”
On behalf of the Wilderness Committee, David Suzuki Foundation, Equiterre, Friends of the Earth and Ontario Nature, Ecojustice lawyers sent a letter to the Minister today, urging her to take immediate action.
The Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee, Western Bumble Bee occidentalis and mckayi subspecies, and Macropis Cuckoo Bee have been identified as endangered, threatened, or of special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The Committee provided assessment reports to the Minister more than nine months ago, but these four bee species have still not been added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. No species receives any protection under SARA until it has been added to the List.
“These wild bees desperately need help now,” said Gwen Barlee, Policy Director for the Wilderness Committee. “Even though the writ has dropped, the federal government’s responsibility for species doesn’t grind to a halt. Just as the criminal code applies during the writ period so does the Species at Risk Act.”